When guns are outlawed, outlaws are remarkably resourceful

Samuel Sheinbein, would-be multiple murderer, is now dead.

Samuel Sheinbein, would-be multiple murderer, is now dead.

The Washington Post has a remarkable story of a murderer’s shootout with the authorities. “What’s remarkable about that?” you might ask. “After all, murderers shoot it out with cops all the time.” True, but not like this: Samuel Sheinbein shot it out with guards at the prison where he was locked up in Israel.

Sheinbein and a buddy committed a particulary gruesome murder in the USA, killing, dismembering, and burning the remains of his victim, before absconding to Israel. As a Jew, they would not extradite him to the USA, but they did try him for various Israeli law violations, and he got a middling sentence (24 years) in an Israeli hoosegow.

As you might expect from a judicial system run by liberals, prison in Israel is apparently a pretty loosey-goosey thing, and he regularly came and went, even after they found out he was trying to buy guns on the outside. Whether he succeeded or took a gun from a guard is unknown.

On the plus side, they did finally whack him after he wounded three guards, so the remaining population of Israel (and the US) is safe from this crumb. So there is that.

Samuel Sheinbein, one of the most notorious murder suspects in Montgomery County history, was shot and killed Sunday during a firefight with prison guards inside a prison in Israel, according to Israeli officials. At least three guards were injured, one of them critically.

Sheinbein , 34, was 17 years old back in 1997, when he and a friend killed Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr., whose charred and dismembered body was found wrapped in trash bags inside a garage in the Wheaton area. Sheinbein then fled to Israel, where he eventually pleaded guilty to charges related to the case and was sentenced to 24 years behind bars in a prison in central Israel.

Shortly after 2 p.m. local time Sunday, Sheinbein opened fire on guards inside the Rimonim Prison in central Israel, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Sheinbein was able to get the gun he used from a guard or had managed have it smuggled inside, said Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli Police national spokesman.

“He opened fire at three security guards inside the prison itself,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld described the guards’ conditions as critical, serious and moderate.

Prison officials closed off part of the prison. Sheinbein managed to barricade himself inside a cell. He didn’t take any prisoners.

Counter-terrorism officers moved in. They tried to communicate with Sheinbein, but about 90 minutes after the initial incident, it ended quickly, police said. “He opened fire at the counter-terrorism units, and they shot and killed him,” Rosenfeld said.

Prior to the shoot-out Sunday, Sheinbein had been eligible to take leaves from the prison. About one month ago, while on such a leave, he tried to buy a pistol over the Internet, Rosenfeld said.

Officials there were trying to find out how he got the gun he used on Sunday.

“Today’s events are now under investigation by the police and the prisoner service,” the Israel Prison Service said in a statement. “It was complicated incident and there are still many questions that we need to answer but that will be done throughout the course of the investigation.”

via Montgomery County murder suspect who fled to Israel in 1997 killed in prison shoot-out – The Washington Post.

His lawyer had tried to warn the prison governors that Sheinbein was in a suicidal state of mind.  She seems to have misread him; we’d call his acts “homicidal.”

An updated story says that the gun Sheinbein used was smuggled in to prison (but it uses exactly that passive-voice construction, not saying who smuggled it in), explains the Israeli law that protected him from the American judicial system (but not the Israeli one), and describes a little more of the mayhem he caused on his way to eternity:

Before being shot and killed, Sheinbein managed to injure seven people: three prison guards, three special forces fighters and one fellow prisoner. One of the guards was still in critical condition Monday.

The heinous murder he committed in the USA 17 years ago was planned with meticulous care:

In Montgomery County in 1997, prior to Tello’s murder, Sheinbein had written a “Recipe for Murder,” listing weapons and clean-up equipment.

“It was as premeditated a murder as you can imagine,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Sunday of Tello’s murder.

So Sheinbein should probably be rotting in an American prison for whatever is left of his threescore and ten. However, Israelis consider their cons too good for our jails. (Sorry, but we’ll be keeping Pollard for a while). Maybe it’s that we cook the meat and the dairy in the same pans in the prison kitchen.

Still, sometimes Israelis, the most right wing of whom would be a liberal Democrat in the USA, are a little too liberal for their own good. They might want to look into that whole, “Let a prisoner have a furlough and come back with a gun,” thing.

6 thoughts on “When guns are outlawed, outlaws are remarkably resourceful

  1. medic09

    Despite your snide tone (you’re entitled, it’s your blog), I’ll offer a small correction. The law that prevented Sheinbein’s extradition, as upheld by the Israeli High Court, related to his being an *Israeli* citizen, not necessarily a Jew. The Israeli AG tried to disprove his citizenship claim, but lost that battle; and the law is (was) the law. And the public upset caused by that case led to a change in the law. If he had run to Israel today, he presumably would have been extradited back to the US (as I believe has already happened with other criminals wanted for lesser crimes). In a society of law, the law must be upheld. When the law is found to be disadvantageous to civil society, the politicians and citizens need to go to work through transparent, legal means to change the law. As they did in this case.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Didn’t mean to bag on Israel or Jews. They’re not to blame for Sheinbein being a criminal, after all (and it does look like the Israeli guards got the worst of the deal). I doubt the courts and jails of Israel wanted this scrote any more than anyone else would.

      I thought all Jews were automatically Israeli citizens? Or must they take some concrete action to secure their rights of citizenship? I do recall reading that there’s some conflict between various rabbis about who’s actually a Jew and who isn’t.

      The article did state that the law had changed after Sheinbein’s flight to Israel. Of course, they have to treat him under the law in effect at the time. I was a bit surprised to read he was tried for the murder, I didn’t know Israel would have jurisdiction in a case like that.

      Then again, they did the right thing with with Eichmann, and he didn’t do anything inside the borders of Eretz Yisrael.

  2. Bill K

    I’d also gently disagree with your characterization, “Still, sometimes Israelis, the most right wing of whom would be a liberal Democrat in the USA, are a little too liberal for their own good.
    Have you read Caroline Glick? (Israeli journalist who grew up in Milwaukee) She was the originator of Latma TV and produced one of my favorite YouTube videos, “We Con the World” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg)

    The modern day descendents of the Irgun and Haganah could hardly be called liberal Democrats and there are many Israelis that have absolutely no problem with carrying their Galils everywhere, including the beach, something I don’t think many Democrats could wrap their minds around.

    But perhaps that’s not the aspect of liberal Democrat you had in mind…

    And yes, part of the Israeli Law of Return reads, “The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh [immigrant] under the Nationality Law, 5712-1952, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.

    So the Law of Return allows any Jew by faith or by heritage to become an Israeli except for former Jews who have renounced Judaism.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only concrete action they need to take to at least start the citizenship process is to ‘make aliyeh’ (come). Which makes sense, given the Holocaust and treatment of Jews elsewhere, that a big raison d’etre of Israel is ‘land of refuge’, without barriers for those who find themselves in extremis, without ‘proper papers’, etc.

  3. medic09

    I didn’t mean to accuse you of “bagging on Israel or Jews”. Nothing about your many writings suggests you to be that way. And certainly not gratuitously. Sorry if I came across that way.

    The Law of Return does allow for a Jew to receive citizenship without meeting any of the usual other requirements such as residency for X number of years, etc. that most countries (and Israel otherwise) require. But the citizenship still has to take effect somehow, typically by the Jew arriving in Israel and declaring his status as an Oleh Hadash/’new immigrant’. So if he’s never set foot in Israel, or had citizenship declared by some other extraordinary mechanism, he’s not technically a citizen, though eligible. Thus, the millions of Jews in the USA, for instance, may be eligible but are not in actuality Israeli citizens. That’s the gist of it, I think.

    Sheinbein’s case was complicated that way. He himself had never been in Israel; but his father had apparently lived in Israel for a short time according to reports. Based on that he claimed citizenship and immunity from extradition under the then-existing law (citizen-as-son-of-a-citizen). The Israeli AG fought that claim all the way to the High Court, but lost. So Israel tried to save face by doing the right thing with him at home.

    I’m clueless why they were apparently lax with his security. It isn’t as if the IPS doesn’t know how to maintain close security with prisoners when they see the need.

      1. Bill K

        Interesting link, Hognose! It’s also interesting in that the Israeli Ministry of Public Security in its history highlights the “watershed event” of a psych patient killing 4 social workers, but totally ignores the November 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir that had far greater news coverage and political repercussions.

        I would agree with you that most Israelis are as far left as liberal Democrats, only objecting that the most right wing of which also are. But by comparison, I would also characterize the median American Jew as left of the median Israeli Jew, among other reasons being that when Israel needed to defend itself in the several Arab-Israeli wars, the more right-wing Jews left the US to help Israel, whereas the left-wing ones stayed, skewing the subsequent groups. In addition, Israelis are constantly reminded of their precarious national survival, and by contrast, my casual friend and fellow university faculty member, a well-regarded American Jew, is absolutely convinced that if HE could get the Arabs and Israelis to both sit down with him, HE could work out their differences (never having experienced their danger in his safe small-city American life) – which just boggles my mind. How can he be so blind and self-assured? But he is, and with no sense of irony talks about giving peace a chance. This guy is a computer programmer and graphics teacher, a very smart dude, but another example of the hypothesis that brainpower does not equal wisdom.

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