The Nazareth District Court handed a life sentence to taxi driver Yousef Hussein Halifa on Wednesday and fined him NIS 258,000 (about $65,800) over the murder of Afula resident Shelley Dadon last year in a high-profile case.
In July 2014, the state’s attorney filed charges against Halifa, 37, after he admitted to driving Dadon, 20, on May 1 of that year to the Migdal Haemek industrial center, where she was headed for a job interview, and later stabbing her to death.
Halifa’s attorney, however, later claimed that police investigators had unlawfully and forcibly extracted from the driver a confession to the killing.
Dadon’s murder was deemed by police to have likely been nationalistically motivated. However, the indictment made no mention of motive. Dadon’s parents have insisted that the attack was nationalistically motivated, and called on the police to publicly declare it as such.
“[We] expect that the killer’s home will be demolished just like the home of any other terrorist,” Dadon’s father said Wednesday, referring to a controversial practice implemented by Israeli authorities against families of terrorists. “I wish we had the death penalty, as in any other civilized country,” he added, according to the Ynet news website.
According to Halifa’s initial account, after disposing of Dadon’s body in a parking lot, he threw out the young woman’s cellphone as well as the weapon he had used to commit the murder and cleaned the bloodstains from his car. After escaping the scene of the crime, Hussein disposed of her wallet near Beit Zarzir.
Excerpts from the indictment state that Dadon realized after she got in the cab with Halifa that something was wrong and called her cousin to tell her that she was afraid. It was apparently after this call that Halifa pulled over into a parking lot, took out a knife and stabbed her repeatedly. Dadon’s attempts to defend herself and escape were unsuccessful.
Marissa Newman contributed to this report.