The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the appeal of Yonatan Heilo, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after murdering his rapist.
The court changed the charge from murder to manslaughter, and reduced his sentence to 12 years.
Heilo originally received 20 years instead of life imprisonment, after the parties agreed that he had been a victim of sexual assaults by the murder victim, Yaron Eilin.
The murder took place in May 2010, when Heilo, who was 23 years old at the time, came with a friend to the commercial center in the Kiryat Nordau neighborhood in Netanya, where he met Eilin. Eilin demanded that Heilo pay him 1,000 shekels “by tomorrow or the day after,” or else he would “get a beating.”
Heilo said that there had been similar instances in the weeks preceding the murder. At some point the two men walked over to an empty lot. When Eilin turned around to urinate, Heilo choked him and hit him on the head with bricks. The next day he turned himself in to the police.
Only during his third interrogation did Heilo tell the police that about two weeks before the murder, Eilin had sodomized him twice, a few days apart. “I was afraid.
I said I only hope he won’t do that again, because the place was dark.
I was afraid he would do it again,” said Heilo, explaining how he had felt in the empty lot. “I saw him from behind. When he was about to turn around, because of my fury and all my anger, I choked him. I was afraid he would kill me, I was afraid he would rape me again.”
The State Prosecutor and the judges of the Lod District Court agreed that Heilo had been a victim of extortion and sodomy.
But “even if the accused was a victim of terrible and harsh acts on the part of the deceased, there are legal ways of dealing with such acts, and taking another person’s life should not be legitimized,” the ruling said.
Heilo’s defense attorney, Alon Eisenberg, appealed to the Supreme Court against the conviction and the punishment, and the appeal was discussed in December 2014.
The state was opposed and requested that the decision of the District Court remain unchanged.