BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mastermind of one of Maryland’s most notorious murders dies in a prison shootout. There’s now revealing insight from the prosecutor who tried to bring him to justice.
The murder case rocked U.S./Israeli relations almost 20 years ago when Samuel Sheinbein fled Maryland to Israel to avoid prosecution after brutally dismembering his victim with a saw. Now the stunning twist: Sheinbein died in a wild shootout with prison guards.
Mike Hellgren spoke to the Maryland prosecutor still haunted by the prosecutor.
The murder defined “brutal.” It was 1997. High school student Samuel Sheinbein and his friend targeted 19-year-old Alfredo Tello Jr. Sheinbein used a stun gun on his victim inside a vacant home in Aspen Hill, then sawed off his arms and legs and wrapped the remaining body parts in trash bags.
“He was six foot tall. Six foot tall but they couldn’t tell because his legs were cut off,” said Eliette Ramos, the victim’s mother.
John McCarthy handled the prosecution.
“Up to that point in time, there is nothing that touches the horror of this particular case,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “We actually obtained a document we called the recipe for murder where he wrote out all the details of the crime he was about to commit and what he needed to gather before he committed the crime.”
Sheinbein’s father arranged for him to flee to Israel, where an international fight ensued to get him back.
The case turned from a quiet suburban neighborhood to the highest levels of the U.S. government.
“There were discussions with the Prime Minister of Israel while we were there about this case,” McCarthy said.
But they were not successful.
Sheinbein was eventually tried and convicted in Israel. He was nearing his release date when, over the weekend, he somehow obtained a gun and was killed in a wild shootout with guards.
McCarthy believes he did it because he was depressed and wanted to die but couldn’t bring himself to commit suicide.
It’s a tragic final twist to a case that’s seen so many.
“Clearly, there’s a mental health issue from the very beginning and I think the conclusion of it just confirms my suspicion that those issues remained,” McCarthy said.
Sheinbein’s alleged accomplice in the crime hanged himself in jail shortly after the murder.
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