Aug. 18, 2010 Jerusalem Yerushalayim (Jerusalem District), Israel
Teens suspected of beating U.S. Jew to death in Jerusalem
Suspects allegedly attacked Lance Wolf, 60, because he refused to give them a cigarette; Victim lay bleeding for 50 minutes before anyone called for help.
Two East Jerusalem teenagers have been arrested in the beating to death a 60-year-old American Jew, Jerusalem police cleared for publication on Tuesday.
Lance Wolf, a 60-year-old American Jew, was allegedly beaten with a stick in central Jerusalem two weeks ago by two East Jerusalem teens, 13 and 15 years old, police said.
One of the suspects said that the attack occurred because Wolf "talked back" when the two teenagers asked him for a cigarette.
The investigation began on August 18, when Wolf was found unconscious and bleeding in Kikar Hahatulot (Cats' Square) in the center of the city. A bloody stick was found next to him.
Wolf was transported to Hadassah Hospital where doctors battled to save his life but he passed away from his injuries on Monday.
One of the suspects in the beating death of Lance Wolf brought for a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.
Photo by: Tomer Appelbaum Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco appointed a special investigative unit which uncovered a video footage showing two figures beating Wolf.
After looking at footage from other surveillance cameras and an intensive investigation, police identified the two suspects last Thursday.
The suspects at first denied beating Wolf, but eventually admitted their guilt.
The teenagers said they had gone out in the center of the city and beat Wolf after he refused to give them a cigarette, before escaping from the scene.
The two were indicted on manslaughter charges on Tuesday in Jerusalem District Court.
Wolf lay bleeding for no less than 50 minutes, despite the fact that surveillance footage showed people and cars stopping next to Wolf without calling for help.
Police said that Wolf's life may have been saved if he had been brought to the hospital earlier.
Police said that the there were other teenagers who witnessed the incident. The teens were drinking from a bottle of vodka bought for them by an adult. Investigators are considering bringing charges against the adult who purchased the alcohol for the teens.
- 2 J'lem teens suspected of killing man over cigarette -
Police believe youths, aged 13 and 15, were drunk when they hit US citizen over the head with a wooden plank.
An American-Israeli man who had been living in Israel for a decade was beaten to death last week by two teenagers from north Jerusalem for refusing to give them a cigarette, police announced on Tuesday, following the lifting of a court-imposed media gag order on the investigation.
The teens were arrested on Thursday following an undercover investigation, and were formally charged with manslaughter on Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court.
The assault victim, Lance Wolf, was sitting in Jerusalem's Kikar Hahatulot early on Wednesday morning when he was approached by two teenagers, aged 14 and 15, and asked to hand over a cigarette.
The teenagers had been intoxicated after drinking from a bottle of vodka which was purchased for them at a kisok by an adult earlier in the evening.
Wolf refused the request, and asked the youths to leave him alone. "The two backed away from him, picked up a wooden plank, came back, struck him [on the head], and fled," Jerusalem Police said.
Wolf lay bleeding on the ground for at least half an hour, and was seen by passers-by who failed to provide him with assistance, according to a number of reports. Emergency services were eventually called to the scene by a passer-by.
An ambulance evacuated Wolf to the Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condtion. Doctors were unable to stablize his condition, and he was declared brain dead. On Saturday, Wolf died of his injuries. He was buried on Sunday.
Jerusalem police district head Cmdr. Aharon Franco ordered a special investigation team to be assembled at the Lev Habria police station and tasked it with tracking down the assailants. Eye witness testimonies were gathered, and police obtained CCTV footage from the square which shows a youth smashing Wolf on the head with a plank of wood. In the video footage, Wolf is seen dropping to the ground as the youths flee.
"Intelligence and testimonies led us to the attackers in north Jerusalem," Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
At first, the suspects denied the suspicions against them, but later confessed, police said.
"He talked back rudely to me when I asked him for a cigarette," one of the suspects told police in the investigation room, when asked to explain why he attacked Wolf.
The teens were charged with manslaughter at the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday.
Wolf arrived in Israel ten years ago after traveling in Europe for a few years. He had a family history of alcoholism, and struggled with the disease for decades. He was married twice in the US, and had two sons and a daughter. Wolf was estranged from his sons but maintained sporadic email contact with his daughter.
"When he was sober he was quite a nice man and very sensitive and caring," said his close friend Natan Taig, the owner of Kaplan Hotel in Kikar Zion, where Wolf lived for a year. "He was not an angel, he could be unfair."
After 50 years of never touching a computer, Wolf taught himself computer programming and HTML in Europe. Taig noted that Wolf often lived for free in hostels where he would update their website in exchange. He also gave private computer lessons, his friends remembered.
His friends among the Anglo community that spend time in the city center streets were shocked by the news of his death, saying that they usually felt safe on the city streets at night, but adding that they were not surprised that incident occurred in that area.
Wolf's friend said he was also attacked in the same area about a year ago. He lost most of his teeth and his jaw was severely broken.
"There are big cliques, bad kids from all over the country that come and hit the bars, and these kids just drink so much," said one man who asked not to be named. Other shared stories of attacks by groups youth in the area.
Kikar Hahatulot (Cat Square), near Kikar Zion at the end of the street filled with bars, has been a trouble spot for years. "The police don't care. Every Thursday and Saturday night there are dozens of kids vomiting and pissing all over the area," said Taig. "Only when someone gets killed, maybe they'll do something small for a little while."
Taig and others point to a lack of police presence that allows the kids to run while, inviting disaster. "After 8:00 pm, you won't see any police making rounds here," said Nuri Yadegaran, who owns a gift store in the center. "The police could come clean up this whole area, but they don't care… they need to be here between 2:00 am and 4:00 am. Tell Nir Barkat to come here by himself at 3:00 am and see what he thinks."
He said that the informal nighttime market in the plaza, with people selling cheap jewelry and water pipes, just invites problems. "They harass young girls, and the hookah brings harder drugs," he said.
The US Embassy said it could not provide details about Wolf due to privacy laws.
Inscription: There is no grave stone. The basic marker says Lance Frank Wolf son of Marvin.The location of the grave is mem"dalet, Kof"Tet, row 3 graave 7.The Hebrew translates as section 44, subsection 109, row 3 grave 7.I suggest to remove the request until a stone is put up