For the first time since the brutal 1997 murder of Alfred
Tello Jr. in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., a U.S.
teenager has admitted to the murder. The teenager, 19 year
old Samuel Scheinbein, told the Tel Aviv District Court that
he was guilty as charged in accordance with a plea bargain
agreement in which he will be sentenced to 24 years in an
The then 17-year-old fled the U.S. for Israel after the
crime, and the Israeli courts ruled that Israeli law barred
the honoring of a U.S. extradition request since Sheinbein is
technically an Israeli citizen. His claim to Israeli
citizenship is based on his father's citizenship, but his
father has not lived regularly in Israel for more than 40
years, and the child himself had only been to Israel for
The brutality of the crime caused widespread outrage in the
United States, as the then-17 year old fled his homeland for
Israel even though his ties to Israel were very weak.
American officials were angered by the move, especially when
it became clear that he could not be extradited.
Israel has since made moves to close the loophole so that
criminals are not protected by it.
Maryland authorities were protested the plea bargain. Even
though the sentence is considered strict by Israeli
standards, it is much less that what could be expected under
U.S. law. The 19-year-old will be eligible for parole in 16
years, and will even be able to leave the prison on weekends
much sooner. In the U.S., if convicted, Sheinbein could
expect a life sentence without any possibility of parole.