Messianic believer beaten to death in central Israel, friend arrested

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(Photo: Magen David Adom)

An indictment has been filed against a 28-year-old Messianic man in the murder of his fellow congregant and friend, Bob Knight, 70, and the attempted murder of Knight’s wife who was attacked right in front of the suspect’s wife and 4-month-old son.

Shimshon Ben Haim was charged with aggravated murder and attempted murder. The two couples were apparently friends, according to Hebrew media reports, and Bob Knight and his wife visited Ben Haim and his family regularly at their home in Lod.

But when the Knights were invited on March 2, the visit took a different turn. According to the indictment, the defendant left his home during the course of the visit. When he returned home a couple of hours later, he had decided he was going to kill the couple.

Knight was sitting in the living room, while the women were sitting next to each other in the yard, with the baby and the other two children playing nearby.

The defendant went into the garden and took a brick then approached Knight’s wife and slammed her in the head with it. After she collapsed to the ground, Ben Haim continued hitting her in the head five more times, the indictment said.

Ben Haim’s wife screamed and tried to get her husband away from her friend and was lightly injured in the process.

When Knight ran over to intervene, the defendant turned on him.

“The defendant did not stop hitting Bob in the head even after Knight collapsed and fell to the ground, until he was dead,” the indictment said.

The suspect apparently only stopped when one of his neighbors arrived at the scene. Ben Haim went to the kitchen and tried to wash the blood off his hands.

The charges against Ben Haim carry a maximum sentence.

“My heart and my condolences go out to the family of the deceased,” Ben Haim’s lawyer, Yitzhak Ben Hamu, said. “We are talking about an unfortunate incident.”

“I cannot comment specifically. I can only say that from speaking at length with my client, I had a very hard time communicating with him and I got the impression that he was not in the best mental health, to say the least,” the attorney said. “We have requested that he be evaluated by a psychiatrist so we can see whether he has any understanding or knowledge of what happened, or his surroundings.”

Kehila News is tracking this story and will publish more details as we get them.