Photo by M. Scott Moon
The question of whether Adam Israel intentionally killed his mother nearly two years ago was turned over to Kenai jurors Thursday after attorneys tried to tug them toward opposing conclusions in closing arguments.
Public defender Marvin Hamilton told jurors Israel’s actions pointed not to an intent to kill, but a moment of desperation and that his efforts to save his mother’s life after he had stabbed her show he did not want to “turn her into a corpse.”
Earlier in the trial, jurors listened to recordings 911 dispatchers and law enforcement officers made on the day Israel, who was 22 at the time, stabbed his mother, 43-year-old Dorothy Israel.
On the tapes, jurors heard Adam Israel urgently yell for emergency responders to hurry and save his mom, first when he called 911 and said his mom is dying, and again when emergency responders arrived at the family’s Soldotna residence, where Dorothy Israel lay bleeding on the kitchen floor from a 5-inch deep knife wound in her back.
In addition, Hamilton said had Adam Israel been concerned about himself rather than saving his mother’s life, he would have jumped into one of two family vehicles available outside of the house and fled, instead of waiting for emergency responders to arrive and incriminating himself by telling them he stabbed her in the back.
But District Attorney June Stein told jurors it would be inappropriate to determine what Israel’s intent was by considering what he did after the stabbing, rather than before.
“Before hand what did he do? He prepared that knife, he waited for his mother, he argued with his mother (and) he stabbed her in the back,” she said.”Saying you’re sorry afterward doesn’t tell what you intended to do at the time.”
During the trial, witnesses testified the kitchen knife used to stab Dorothy Israel had a broken handle which had then been wrapped in masking tape.
In her closing argument, Stein also said a dispute which, according to witnesses, occurred a week before the stabbing, also offered evidence Israel had intended to kill his mother.
During the trial Israel’s sister, Megan Ravara, and brother, AJ Ravara, told jurors Israel and AJ Ravara had gotten into a fight in AJ’s room a week before the stabbing, and that after the fight stopped Israel made a threatening remark.
AJ Ravara said when Israel made the threat, he, Megan and their mother were all present and Israel had turned to face them.
“He said, ‘You’re all going to get it, especially you’ and pointed to my mom,” AJ Ravara said, telling the jury what he had remembered Israel saying.
Megan Ravara related the same incident to jurors except that she had remembered her brother saying, “You’re all going to be sorry, especially you,” as he pointed at his mother.
Hamilton, however, questioned Stein’s interpretation of the statement Israel made after fighting with AJ. He said the threat was not a physical threat toward others, but a threat of regret.
“When I’m dead you’ll be sorry, and especially you mom,” Hamilton said, suggesting what might have been going through Israel’s head at the time.
Hamilton has argued that on the day of the stabbing, Israel had been battling internal demons and had intended to kill himself rather than his mother.
In his closing argument, Hamilton said in the moments before he stabbed his mother, Israel was considering suicide and that his mother told him she hated him, causing him to snap and do something he had not intended.
But Stein told jurors Israel is a controlling and abusive man who killed a loving mother, and they should not be fooled into thinking he had not killed her intentionally.
“Whatever the kids wanted, that’s what she wanted to give them,” she said, describing Dorothy Israel’s relationship with her five children. “But that just wasn’t good enough for Adam Israel, he wanted more, because he was in charge.”
In her rebuttal, Stein had the last word before the jurors received instructions to deliberate and asked them to use the evidence given to them in the trial to find him guilty of the most serious charge of murder.
“He meant to kill her, and he did kill her and I’ll ask you to convict him of first-degree murder,” she said.
Hamilton, however, said Israel should not be found guilty of first-degree murder, and asked jurors to instead consider the lesser charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide.
Patrice Kohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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