Israeli court delays murder trial of American teenager
May 16, 1999
TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- The murder case against American teenager Samuel Sheinbein, facing trial in Israel for a crime committed in the U.S. state of Maryland, has been delayed.
Sheinbein's trial opened Sunday with the first formal reading of the indictment in court. But Judge Uri Goren, head of a three-judge panel, granted a defense request for time to gather more evidence from Maryland.
Goren ordered Sheinbein to reappear in court on June 13 for another pretrial hearing.
"We'll turn to the state attorney in Maryland, and we'll ask for the rest of the material, and then we'll continue," said defense attorney David Libai.
Sheinbein, 18, fled to Israel in September 1997, days after the death and dismemberment of Alfred Tello Jr., an acquaintance. The American teenager, born and raised in the United States, holds joint Israeli-U.S. citizenship because of his father's birth in pre-statehood Israel.
U.S. authorities requested extradition, but Israel's Supreme Court rejected the request, citing a 1978 law that bars the extradition of citizens wanted for crimes committed abroad.
In court Sunday, Sheinbein sat impassively as the grisly details of Tello's murder were read.
The prosecution contends that Sheinbein and an accomplice, Aaron Needle, picked up Tello from work in Maryland and decided to kill him. Needle was arrested for the murder, and hanged himself with a bedsheet in jail last April.
According to the indictment, Needle and Sheinbein choked Tello with a rope around the neck, struck him on the head with a blunt object and slashed him with a sharp object. The two then alleged put Tello's body in the garage of Sheinbein's house, but moved it two days later to an abandoned garage.
"In the garage, the defendant and Needle chopped off his arm in the middle third of his forearm and his legs in the middle third of his thighs by using a Makita rotary electric saw ... and hid the dismembered arms and legs in a location unknown to the prosecution," the indictment said.
The pair burned the remaining part of the body, wrapped it in garbage bags and left it on the garage floor, according to the indictment.
Prosecutor Hadassah Naor said she expected to begin presenting evidence in the trial in September.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Israel's Supreme Court blocks extradition of Maryland teen
The Department of Justice on the Following Statement on the Samuel Sheinbein Matter - 09-30-97
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