Opening arguments: Control freak or just misunderstood?

Israel murder trial under way

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2006


  Israel Photo by M. Scott Moon

Adam Israel, charged with the stabbing death of his mother in 2005, listens to legal proceedings in his trial Wednesday morning.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

A Kenai jury selected to hear the murder trial of a 24-year-old Soldotna man, listened Tuesday as opening arguments in the trial claimed to describe what was going through the defendant’s mind on Jan. 29, 2005, the day his mother died from a knife wound in her back.

Adam Israel has been charged with the stabbing death of his mother, 43-year-old Dorothy Israel, in their home nearly two years ago.

District Attorney June Stein told jurors that Adam is a controlling man and that his need to control led him to intentionally kill his mother.

“(Dorothy) tried to give the children what they wanted and what they needed,” Stein said. “Adam Israel wanted a lot. He wanted control — he wanted power and control.”

Public defender, Marvin Hamilton, however, argued Adam had been battling internal demons the day he stabbed his mother and had intended to kill himself rather than his mother.

According to Soldotna police, Adam stabbed his mother with a kitchen knife after he had become angry with Dorothy during an argument in the family residence on West Little Avenue.

Adam called 911 shortly after the stabbing at 12:13 p.m., and Dorothy was taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital where she died around 1 p.m., according to Soldotna police.

Hamilton said the actions Adam took after stabbing his mother, indicate he did not intend to kill her and that he should not be found guilty of first-degree murder as the prosecution asks.

In a recording of the 911 call, Adam is clearly anguished and desperate to save his mother’s life, Hamilton said.

“I need help now, my mom is dying, I stabbed her. Hurry, hurry, hurry,” Hamilton told jurors Adam said.

“He cares about his mom, he doesn’t care about himself. He just implicated himself in a crime. He doesn’t care.”

On Tuesday, jurors also listened to an Alaska State Trooper’s testimony describing what happened at the scene of the crime after emergency responders arrived at Adam’s home.

Adam had blood on his hands and was agitated when emergency responders arrived, entered his home and tried to save his mother, who was laying on the kitchen floor, said Vanessa Meade, who is a trooper and was one of the emergency responders who arrived at the house after Adam’s 911 call.

Meade said she saw the knife used to stab Dorothy on the kitchen counter, and that she and another law enforcer handcuffed Adam and lead him out of the house.

Meade then sat in a trooper vehicle with Adam where he remained agitated and interrupted her as she tried to read him his Miranda rights, she said.

“Just f-ing take me away,” she told jurors he said.

On Tuesday, opening arguments and witness testimony also described the events leading up to the stabbing.

During opening arguments jurors learned that on the day Dorothy died she had been planning to meet friends in the Caribou Hills to go snowmachining with them and two of her sons. Dorothy had five children of which Adam was the second oldest.

Adam was not planning to go with his mother on the snowmachining trip, but was inside the home with Dorothy as she prepared to leave.

As she prepared to leave the house, with her youngest son waiting for her in a truck parked outside, she and Adam got into a heated argument.

Hamilton said the argument ended with Adam stabbing Dorothy after Adam told her he had planned to kill himself and she told him she hated him, and that the stabbing was an act of desperation.

But Stein said evidence will later show the murder was a result of his need to control, and described Adam’s behavior toward officers after the stabbing as an indication of Adam’s controlling nature.

She said that after Adam was taken to the police station, he ignored officer’s efforts to talk to him and make him comfortable.

“Adam Israel wants to be in control,” she said of why he ignored officers. “He won’t answer them. He just puts his head down and ignores them.”

Robert Walker, a friend who had been waiting for Dorothy in his cabin in the Caribou Hills the day that she died, said Dorothy had originally plan-ned to come to the cabin on Jan. 28.

Instead of coming out to the cabin Jan. 28, however, Dorothy called Walker and said she needed to stay home with Adam that night and would come the next day instead, he said. Walker said he did not know anything more about why she needed to stay home Jan. 28.

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