Notorious local murderer killed in Israel

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- It was one of the most senseless and brutal murders in Montgomery County; in 1997 Samuel Sheinbein and a former classmate killed, then mutilated the body of Alfredo Enrique Tello.

The 17-year-old Sheinbein, with the help of his family, fled to Israel. He was tried there and sent to prison. Sunday morning, Sheinbein was killed in a shootout with guards inside an Israeli prison.

Although some might say justice was finally served and the case is closed, the original prosecutors spoke to WUSA9 Sunday, about how they felt when they got the phone calls Sunday morning.

"Today was a shocking day," says Montgomery County State's Attorney, John McCarthy.

"At first I was very shocked, but then I wasn't surprised at some level," says Douglas F. Gansler, Attorney General of Maryland.

Both McCarthy and Gansler were among the original prosecutors in the Sheinbein case. "I thought they were calling to tell me he was being released from jail," says McCarthy.

When in fact, it was the opposite: Samuel Sheinbein was dead. Israeli police say Sheinbein shot three security officers then barricaded himself in his cell bathroom before being shot to death by Israeli Special Forces. Sheinbein had been in a Tel Aviv prison serving time for the murder of Freddy Tello, who was killed, dismembered and burned; his remains found scattered through trash cans in Montgomery County.

Police say Sheinbein and his accomplice, Aaron Needle, committed the crime together.

While Needle was arrested and later committed suicide in jail, Sheinbein, with the help of his father, fled to Israel to seek refuge.

"This was an international incident that gained notoriety at the top levels of our government," says McCarthy.

Prosecutors fought to bring Sheinbein back to the U.S. to face trial, but ultimately lost when he successfully gained refuge in Israel. Although Sheinbein was not a citizen, it was ruled he inherited citizenship from his father. He was tried in Israel and found guilty. "I think it was an embarrassment to the nation of Israel," says McCarthy.

Prosecutors say though, a case like this, will never happen again. "This fact pattern can never happen again" says Gansler. "Because there wouldn't be people old enough to have lived in pre-Israel Palestine, who fled and whose children committed murder."

As for why Sheinbein would attempt to escape now, after 16 years in jail? Gansler has a theory. "I think he was absolutely trying to commit suicide. Otherwise he would have tried to escape 15 or 16 years ago."

In the end, was justice served? Both Gansler and McCarthy say that's tough, because although Sheinbein spent a significant amount of time in jail and ultimately died, nothing will bring Freddy Tello back.


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