Reassessing "Jacob's case": A serial killer re-examined after ten years

M. Kalian, M. Birger, E. Witztum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current study re-examines an exceptional case of a serial killer incarcerated since a decade ago. "Jacob" is the first serial killer apprehended in Israel. His known actions were committed during the eighties of the last century, and continued for eleven years. The victims were elderly individuals, including both his parents. Shortly after incarceration he became overtly schizophrenic and underwent five hospitalisations. The case is re-examined in view of changes, both in the perpetrator's diagnosis and criminal legislation. Was Jacob doomed to become a serial killer, or could his fate be avoided through early professional intervention? Were the killings presenting symptoms of a psychotic or pre-psychotic phase? Should he be eligible for a retrial? What would have been his position with the current law in view of the new 300A(a) clause ("Reduced Punishment") of the Israeli Criminal Code? Could he ever be released back to the community? These are some of the questions to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Criminal responsibility
  • Homicide
  • Reduced punishment
  • Schizophrenia
  • Serial killer


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