JERUSALEM – Samuel Sheinbein, a former resident of Montgomery County who was convicted by an Israeli court and jailed in the Jewish state for a murder committed in Maryland, was shot and killed after shooting three prison guards.
Sheinbein, 34, was killed Sunday afternoon by a response team at the Rimonim Prison, located north of Tel Aviv, after remaining holed up in a prison block for most of the day. He reportedly had barricaded himself inside the block after shooting at guards while being transferred to a new cell block. At least one of the guards was seriously injured.
The Israel Prison Service told Israeli media that they do not know how Sheinbein obtained the gun. It is not known if he made any demands.
There are still many issues that need to be clarified during the investigation that will take place, the prison service said in a statement.
Sheinbein had been eligible for furloughs from prison and reportedly tried to purchase a pistol on the Internet during one of those periods he was out of jail.
In an interview with Israeli TV, Orit Hayoun, Sheinbein’s Israeli attorney, said that she had spoken to her client several days before and was concerned about his state of mind. She said she contacted the prison service about placing him on a suicide watch.
In 1997, a 19-year-old Sheinbein fled to Israel in 1997 after being charged with killing a Hispanic teen, Enrique Tello Jr. He left the United States days after Tello’s dismembered and burned corpse was found in the garage of an unoccupied house three miles north of Wheaton in September of that year.
“Today’s events are a shocking end to one of the most brutal cases ever committed in Montgomery County,” John McCarthy, state’s attorney for Montgomery County told The Washington Post.
Though he had never visited Israel before fleeing there, Sheinbein claimed Israeli citizenship through his father, who was born in prestate Palestine. Israel refused to extradite Sheinbein and an Israeli court sentenced him to 24 years in jail for the murder, the maximum sentence given in Israel to a juvenile offender. He reportedly would have received a life sentence in the United States.
The Sheinbein case spurred the Knesset to enact a law in April 1999 making it easier to extradite Israeli citizens charged with committing crimes abroad.
Under the new law, those who hold Israeli citizenship but are not residents of the country can be extradited, while residents will be tried in the Jewish state. – JTA News and Features