One of the suspects at court
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Police: Teens lynched American in Jerusalem

Arab teens aged 13, 15 charged with killing 60-year old because he wouldn't give them a cigarette

Two Arab teens from Jerusalem, aged 14 and 15, are suspected of beating a 60-year old American Jew to death in the city center a week ago, police said Tuesday.


The man, Lance Wolf, was hospitalized and died of his wounds a few days after the attack.  

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Security camera footage of murder

A preliminary investigation suggests that the motive for the beating was the man's refusal to give the boys a cigarette when they demanded it of him after having become inebriated at a friend's birthday party.


In an unexpected development, the 15-year-old involved in the attack confessed to his role in the lethal attack in a phone call to his mother, while a Ynet reporter listened on. The mother was being interviewed by Ynet when she received a call from her son from prison, admitting that he hit Wolf in the head


The attack occurred last Wednesday. Police say the two teens approached an adult at the site and asked him to purchase alcoholic beverages for them. He agreed, and bought them a bottle of vodka. Later they approached Wolf, asking for a cigarette, and he refused.


One of the suspects at court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The teens told police that Wolf "was insolent and cursed", and that they decided to take revenge by beating him with a wooden plank they found nearby. The beating was caught on film by a security camera , which also recorded the assailants' flight along with three witnesses who had stood by as Wolf was beaten.


The 60-year old man lay bleeding while passersby did nothing, and rescue forces were alerted only after 50 minutes had gone by. Wolf was then taken by paramedics to Hadassah Ein Kerem, where he eventually died of his wounds.


Police say that if paramedics had gotten to him sooner, he probably would have lived.


'Parents have responsiblity'

The two teens were arrested last Thursday at their homes in a northern neighborhood of the capital, but the a gag order was imposed on the case until an indictment could be filed against them.


The victim is an American-born man whose children live in the US. At first police could find no identification on him and assumed he was homeless, but later he was found to have lived for close to two years in Jerusalem. His family has been notified.


Chief Inspector Yedidyah Yaakov, who interrogated the suspects, says they have no criminal records and seem "normative."


"Are they sorry he's dead? I guess so. They understand it. They understand the severity of their actions," he said.


The police officer added: "I want every parent with kids this age to think about where they are and whether they are drinking vodka at some square. The parents have a huge responsibility."


On Monday the two were brought before the court for a hearing. The 13-year old broke out crying, and relatives said it was the first time they had been allowed to see the suspects.


"The detectives have turned him into a killer," said a brother of one of the teens, while a friend of the family said there was no way he was involved.


"The parents are staying up at night, crying. He's a good, sensitive," she said.


Aviad Glickman and Roi Mandel contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 08.31.10, 13:53
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