JERUSALEM (JTA) — The trial began for the main suspect in the kidnapping and revenge murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
The suspect, Yosef Haim Ben-David, reportedly announced in Jerusalem District Court on Sunday that he is “the messiah.”
Ben-David, 29, of the Adam settlement near Jerusalem is expected to enter an insanity plea. He owns an eyewear store in Jerusalem.
Attorney Aharon Roza asked that Ben-David be examined by an outside psychiatrist to determine his fitness for trial, the Times of Israel reported.
Ben-David is accused of beating 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir unconscious and then burning him to death. He and two other suspects, both 16-year-old males — from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh — told investigators that the slaying was in revenge for the kidnapping and murder last month of three Israeli teens.
The suspects have admitted to the murder and reenacted it for police.
Ben-David, who was committed to a mental hospital in recent months after allegedly attempting to murder his infant daughter, also is charged with attempting to kidnap a 7-year-old boy from eastern Jerusalem a day before the murder of Khdeir.
Khdeir was kidnapped from his eastern Jerusalem neighborhood early on the morning of July 2 and murdered hours later, less than a day after the funerals of Israeli teens Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.