Jewish teens found guilty in murder of Palestinian teen who was burned to death

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Jewish teens were found guilty of the murder of a Palestinian teen who was burned to death in the Jerusalem forest.

The verdict in the kidnapping and killing of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was handed down Monday morning in Jerusalem District Court

The court also found Monday that the third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, of the Adam settlement in the West Bank, carried out the crimes for which he was accused, but delayed issuing a verdict due to the last-minute submission of an insanity plea.

According to the court, Ben David committed murder, abduction for the sake of murder, attempted aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and attempted arson. The court will continue to discuss his case on December 20, according to reports.

Attorneys for Ben-David submitted a psychiatric evaluation just days ago, that calls into question whether he was responsible for his actions at the time of his crime.  Ben-David has a history of mental illness, and has been under medication for his condition, the original indictment said.

Khdeir was beaten unconscious and then burned to death in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2, 2014, to avenge the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens the previous month, Ben-David told police at the time of his arrest.

The teens have not been identified because they were minors at the time of the crime. They will be sentenced next month. One of the teens was convicted of attempted aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted arson, murder and abduction for the sake of murder. The other was convicted of murder and abduction for the sake of murder.

The murdered teen’s family, residents of eastern Jerusalem, attended all court sessions including Monday’s.

The teen’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, called the decision to delay a verdict for Ben-David a “crime,” and “utterly meaningless,” according to reports. He accused the attorneys for Ben David of “misleading the court.”  He has called for life sentences in prison for all three of those involved in the murder of his son.

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