Posts Tagged ‘murder’

Double Murder of Jewish Snowbirds Makes ‘Every Day a Nightmare’ for Daughter

January 8, 2014

This piece was first published in the Forward.


Police have recovered DNA evidence from two women in the heartbreaking double-murder of a Jewish retiree couple who were found slain in their Florida condo home.

The female suspects have not yet been identified in the killings of Rochelle Wise and David (Donny) Pichosky — and police in the Ft. Lauderdale suburb of Hallandale Beach concede the case has proven stubbornly difficult to solve.

Heartbroken relatives admitted they never thought they would be mourning the couple at a press conference called to mark the first anniversary of the slayings.

“As horrible as we all know murders are, we never think it would happen to someone we love,” Sari Rosenblum, Pichosky’s daughter, said.

“Over the past 12 months, we have learned to live in a new reality,” she added. “The sun comes up, the birds may be singing but for our family, every day is a nightmare.”

Wise, 66, and Pichosky, 71, both of Toronto, were found dead in their Florida condo by a neighbor on January 10, 2013. Last year, it was revealed that the couple had been asphyxiated, although police have not said how.

Police revealed on Wednesday that they were also bound.

The DNA revealed by police Wednesday does not match anyone who would have had permitted access to the slain couple’s home, or to any of the entries in the FBI and Canadian law enforcement databases.

Chief of Police Dwayne Flournoy told reporters that the forensic evidence collected at the crime scene showed that there were at least two perpetrators, and that both are female. He called that description unusual.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


How An Age-Old Stereotype Led To A Horrific Kidnapping

April 20, 2013

This piece was first published on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.

Ilan Halimi (courtesy of Stephanie Yin)

Ilan Halimi (courtesy of Stephanie Yin)

Was the 2006 kidnapping, 24-day long torture, and murder of 23-year-old French-Jewish cell phone salesman Ilan Halimi by a suburban Paris gang fueled by anti-Semitism? In the new documentary film, “Jews & Money,” there’s no doubt about the answer.

In the film we see lawyers arguing over the validity of anti-Semitic hate crime charges, but filmmaker Lewis Cohen’s starting point is obvious. The story of Halimi’s murder and its aftermath serves as a springboard for the history and development of Western anti-Semitis, and the adoption of its elements by Islamists and others opposed to the State of Israel.

In particular, it is the gang leader’s admission that Halimi was targeted because of the belief that all Jews are rich, which sets the stage for the filmmaker’s investigation of this invidious canard.

Cohen told an audience at the first screening of the film’s final cut on April 17 at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco that it was the topic of Jews and money, and not the Halimi case specifically, that first interested him. He said he hadn’t thought much about the origin of the stereotype until he took an extended trip to Europe about five years ago. He decided he wanted to focus on the subject, and when someone told him about Halimi, he realized the crime was an excellent framing device.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Toronto Jewish Couple Asphyxiated, Florida Police Say

March 7, 2013

This piece first appeared in The Times of Israel.

imagesAn elderly Jewish man and woman were asphyxiated while in their Florida townhouse, police said Wednesday, revealing the first details of the investigation since the grisly double murder in early January.

Rochelle Wise and David (Donny) Pichosky, retirees from Toronto. who resided in Hallandale Beach, Florida, during the winter months, were found dead on the evening of January 10. A neighbor used a key to enter their home due to concern over the couple having missed a lunch date scheduled for the day before.

Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy revealed at a press conference on Wednesday that the medical examiner had ruled the deaths homicide by asphyxiation. Flournoy declined to provide further details about the cause or time of death.

Wise, 66, was a respected and loved educator whose last position was as the preschool director at Toronto’s Bialik Hebrew Day School. She and Pichosky, 71, had been married for four years.

Despite some progress in the investigation, the perpetrators have not yet been apprehended. The family of the victims has put out a plea for help from the public, and Crime Stoppers has issued a $51,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.