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Murder Case Dismissed After D.A. Decides Not to Retry Immigrant

October 24, 2003|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles judge dismissed a murder case Thursday against a Syrian immigrant after prosecutors announced their decision not to proceed with a retrial.

Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr. granted a defense motion to dismiss the case against Fadel Tawil of Burbank. The judge ordered that Tawil be released from county jail.

Jurors deadlocked last month on whether to convict Tawil of killing and dismembering his nephew, Hilal Taweel, for harboring his runaway teenage daughter against his wishes. After the trial, jurors said they agreed on the facts of the case but could not agree on what conclusions to draw from them. They split 6 to 6.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Karla Kerlin said Thursday that the evidence against Tawil was largely circumstantial. The jurors had questions that would have remained unanswered in a second trial, she said. For example, authorities were unable to determine how the victim had been killed because only Taweel's lower torso and left leg were found.

A body part belonging to 35-year-old Taweel was found on Jan. 2, 1999. Tawil was arrested in 2001.

During the trial, Kerlin presented evidence that specks of Taweel's blood had been found at his uncle's Burbank home.

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