Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Police say son killed parents in Ramot double murder
Daniel Maoz was allegedly in hundreds of thousands of shekels in gambling debts; police call neighbors' inaction "regrettable."
Daniel Maoz, the chief suspect in a double murder in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem last month, had his remand extended by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Wednesday. Prosecutors were expected to file an indictment on Monday.
Maoz is accused of murdering his two parents on August 14, possibly in connection to hundreds of thousands of shekels of gambling debts. He was arrested at his apartment in Tel Aviv on September 11, nearly a month after the murders.
Siblings Nir and Tamar Maoz sat stoically in the courtroom and refused to look at their brother save a few glances. Police notified the family on Tuesday that they were going to indict Daniel in the murder. Police said the family was “in shock” but decided not to defend Daniel against the accusations.
The bodies of Nurit and Noah Maoz were discovered on August 14 by their other son, Nir, who went to the couple’s home after both had failed to show up for work. Nurit Maoz worked at the Justice Ministry and Noah worked at a dentists’ office in Malha.
Police investigators were immediately suspicious of the fact that nothing was stolen from the apartment and there was no evidence of a break-in, suggesting the murderer had a prior relationship with the couple. Though police investigated the possibility of a terrorist attack or a dispute over money, they quickly zeroed in on the son Daniel, whose story of his whereabouts on the night of the murder changed under repeated questionings and gave the police details that were not known to the public.
Daniel Maoz was in hundreds of thousands of shekels of gambling debts to banks and private individuals, and police believe that he may have been trying to use his inheritance to pay off the debts. The family was aware of Daniel’s gambling addiction and two years ago, one of his brothers had rescued him from similar debts.
Daniel had sworn to the family that he had quit gambling for good, police said. They believe that the parents knew he had returned to his old ways and may have helped him out financially in the past months. “They were a normal family, and supportive parents,” said a chief investigator.
According to the investigation, police believe Daniel arrived at his parents' home Saturday evening and watched television with his father while his mother prepared for bed. Sometime shortly before 11:00 p.m., he got into an argument with his father and allegedly began stabbing him with a knife from the kitchen. His mother came into the room to help but he also stabbed her to death, police say.
Tragically, neighbors heard screams and shouts of “he’s murdering me!” but did not notify police. Police called the actions of the neighbors “regrettable.”
According to investigators, Daniel then returned to Tel Aviv and did a variety of errands, including getting gas, taking money out of an ATM, and visiting some of his gambling friends in an apartment. His friends told police Daniel was acting very strangely, asking weird questions about whether authorities could track peoples whereabouts using cell phones, and his appearance was disheveled with spots of blood on his shirt and a wound on his hand.
Police said Daniel then returned to the apartment in Ramot and tried to clean up the crime scene. As police scrutiny increased, he allegedly told them he had been in the house at the time of the murder and tried to grapple with the murderer but had frozen in fear and did not notify police, worried that they would assume he was the murderer.