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Murder case dismissed against Burbank man

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.