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Attorney: Sheinbein Thinks He Deserves Harsh Sentence

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, October 11, 1999; 1:00 p.m. EDT

Samuel Sheinbein appears in court for his pre-sentencing hearing. (AP)

Sheinbein Pleads Guilty in Tel Aviv (AP Video)
Maryland Prosecutor Announces Plea (56K or faster)

From The Post
Sept. 3: Sheinbein's Guilty Plea Doesn't End Dissension
Sept. 2: Sheinbein's 'Recipe for Murder'
Sept. 2: Sheinbein's Letter
Aug. 26: Sheinbein Prosecutors Quarrel
Aug. 25: Prosecutor: Sheinbein Pleading Guilty to Murder
March 22: Final Extradition Effort Fails
March 6: Sheinbein Can't Be Extradited
Sept. 1997: Slaying Suspect Found in Israel
TEL AVIV, Oct. 11 Samuel Sheinbein, the Maryland teenager who was convicted last month of the murder and dismemberment of Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr., believes he deserves a harsh prison sentence, his attorney told the Israeli court today that will sentence him in two weeks.

In a pre-sentencing hearing, Sheinbein's attorney, former justice minister David Libai, explained to the three-judge panel in Tel Aviv District Court that his client had pleaded guilty to murder charges and agreed to a 24-year prison term because he does not want to endure a long and difficult trial.

"He thinks he deserves the punishment," Libai said. "Even though it is a harsh sentence, he thinks the plea-bargain sentencing gives him hope . . . and without that hope he will be lost."

In court today, Sheinbein's defense team and Israeli state prosecutors argued that their plea-bargain agreement is the best outcome of what has been an unusually protracted case.

Under Israeli law, the court is not bound by the 24-year prison term agreed to by the two sides. The judges set a sentencing date of Oct. 24.

The judges gave no response to today's proceedings and no hint as to how they will act on the plea bargain. However, one of the three judges, Edmund Levy, did ask what the maximum sentence is that Sheinbein would face if convicted in Maryland court. The answer is life in prison.

Sheinbein, 19, was convicted last month of murdering and dismembering Tello in Montgomery County two years ago. After the slaying in September 1997, Sheinbein fled to Israel. After a lengthy court battle, the Israeli High Court determined he had a legitimate claim to Israeli citizenship and therefore could not be extradited to stand trial in the United States.

© 1999 The Washington Post Company

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