The chief suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir were indicted at the Jerusalem district court Thursday morning, on charges of killing the 16-year-old Palestinian from the Shuafat neighborhood in Jerusalem as revenge for the kidnap-murder of three Israeli teens.
The attorney in Jerusalem labeled their actions on the night of the killing as, "A manhunt that lasted several hours." According to the indictment, in the last moments before the murder, one of the defendants struck Abu Khdeir and called out, "This is for... the Fogel family, this is for the three kidnapped teenagers."
The attorney general added a special message into the indictment that said that the crime was, "a serious and shocking incident with a racist motive against an innocent boy. I wish to express my deepest condolences for this savage act, which goes against basic human morality."
Currently it appears likely that at least two of the defendants will plead insanity befor the court in Jerusalem. On Thursday afternoon the judge approved for publication the name of the main suspect, but his representative, attorney Aaron Rosa from the organization Amnesty, may appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
According to Rosa, releasing his name could endanger his client's family who were warned of the situation by police officers.
Security at the Jerusalem court was increased Thursday morning upon the arrival of the defendants and police forces were also present to lend a helping hand.
In addition to the kidnap, burning and murder of Abu Khdeir, two of the accused, the 29-year-old man from the town of Adam and one of the suspected teens, are also suspected of attempting to burn a 7-year-old child from Beit Hanina in east Jerusalem one day before the murder of Abu Khdeir.
The Indictment also included attempts to set fire to cars belonging to Palestinians and to burn a store in Hizma near Jerusalem in June. The Indictment letter also stated that the adult and one of the accused teens suffer from mental health issues and are taking Psychiatric medication.
After discussions in the court, attorney Rosa said, "We are only now able to get the case material. After we go through it we will check if it is consistent with the indictment which is only the prosecution's version of events. Afterwards we'll see what's consistent with reality, what each defendant did exactly and whether each of them is fit for prosecution."
Abu Khdeir's father told Ynet that, "Before the indictment hearing I sat with the prosecutor for an hour. He explained the goals of the trail and said that all of the accused admitted to their involvement in the murder and other attempts. He said that there may be changes to the indictment letter in the course of discussions according to the version of the defense."
"I requested from the prosecutor that they receive the heaviest and hardest punishment. They need to be in prison for all their lives. We can't underestimate the accusations or try and turn the accused into insane people in order to reduce the penalty," Khdeir concluded.
Earlier in the week, Ynet learned that the adult suspect has had a difficult history of mental health problems, which he will most likely use in his defense during the trial. When his daughter was only one month old he threatened to murder her and was arrested.
The police claimed that he had began to choke the young baby, but stopped when his wife entered the room. As a result of the incident his family committed him to a mental hospital and he was separated from his family.
According to testimony from the three suspects, they entered the Hyundai they used the night of the Abu Khdeir murder, driving through the Damascus Gate to arrive in Shuafat. They wandered the neighborhood for 20 minutes arguing over who they should kidnap: an adult male, a teen boy, or a woman.
The vehicle was driven by the prime suspect, in his thirties, which left the two other suspects – age 16 and 17 – in the back seat for fear they could not subdue a strong male alone.
Eventually one of the suspects said: "Come on, let's kidnap a teen. Women shout more than men."
One of the suspects told investigators they tried to hide their tracks: "We didn't want a violent murder. We didn't want blood. We didn't want to get dirty. We searched all sorts of Arab neighborhoods, we saw him alone. We went outside and forced him into the vehicle. We sped towards the Jerusalem Forest, arrived, spilled flammable material on him that we bought beforehand, lit him on fire, and went back."
After the murder, in order to manufacture an alibi, they drove to eat at a restaurant in Tel Aviv. On the way back they drove into Sur Bahar and tried to light Arab vehicles on fire, until they were noticed by local residents and were forced to escape.