Jackson Bell and Tim Willert
A judge has dismissed murder charges against a 65-year-old Burbank
man accused of killing and dismembering his nephew.
Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers Jr. on Thursday dismissed the case
against Fadel Tawil after prosecutors said they were unable to
proceed with a retrial, according to news reports. Bowers declared a
mistrial last month after jurors deadlocked 6-6 in the case.
“There was a plethora of unanswered and unasked questions that all
pointed away from my client,” said Betty Bridgers, Tawil’s attorney.
Tawil, a Syrian immigrant who was arrested in May 2001, was
released from custody Thursday. He was charged with killing his
35-year-old nephew, Hilal Taweel, a Syrian immigrant and UCLA
graduate who befriended Tawil’s daughter -- a relationship Tawil
disapproved of, police said.
In January 1999, a torso, leg and foot identified as Taweel’s were
found on a conveyor belt at a Sun Valley recycling plant.
Bridgers said that several items were missing during the
investigation, such as a weapon, means of transportation and some of
Taweel’s body parts.
“There simply was not any connection or anything that could have
linked my client to the crime,” she said. “The only thing that could
link them were a couple of DNA dots found in the apartment from the
victim, who visited frequently.”
Prosecutors believed Taweel was killed because he was harboring
Tawil’s runaway teenage daughter. Other factors they said led to the
murder were his inability to adjust to his life here from his life in
Syria and the tensions of his strained relationship with his nephew.