There’s a fascinating true crime docuseries currently in Netflix that I recommend everyone to watch. It’s a haunting, horrific case with a potential huge miscarriage of justice, one that makes what we saw in Making a Murderer pale in comparison. It’s called Shadow of Truth, and it has four episodes.
The series exposes the murder of 13 year old Tair Rada. On December 6th, 2006, Tair was found stabbed to death in a locked bathroom stall inside her school in Katzrin, a quiet israeli settlement in the Golan Heights. The murder was savage and with no evident motive, since Tair wasn’t sexually assaulted. The town went into a panic and kids were afraid to go to school.
With an increasing amount of pressure on their heads, police eventually found their main suspect in Roman Zadorov, an Ukranian immigrant who had done some tiling work at Tair’s school. According to the documentary, the reason they got to him was that a teacher claimed to have seen the school’s gardener acting suspicious on the day of the murder, but the gardener had an alibi. Roman looked like the gardener, so police figured out it was him who the teacher saw.
They took him in for questioning and eventually Roman confessed to the murder, one he later recanted. He was found guilty on trial and sentenced to life in prison.
Case closed? Not quite.
The documentary shows that Roman’s confession was mostly coerced by police. He barely spoke hebrew and likely didn’t understand much of what was said. They put him in a holding cell with a planted informant who pretty much coached Roman’s confession, it’s all in tape. More importantly, police told Roman they had found DNA and other physical evidence linking him to the crime. However, as it was later discovered, there was not even one piece of physical evidence that Roman was ever in that bathroom stall or near Tair. There were unidentified prints that didn’t belong to him or the victim.
As this case gets more and more convoluted and the doubts about Roman’s guilt grow, the documentary explores other possibilities that, according to them, were ignored by police. Tair’s mom, for example, doesn’t believe Roman killed her daughter and instead thinks it was one of her classmates. Two friends of Tair claim they went to the bathroom at the time of the murder and knocked on a closed stall, and a girl’s voice replied saying it was busy. They also saw a girl with curly hair who has never been identified.
And the bombshell: a man testified years after the murder that it was his girlfriend at the time who really killed Tair. According to the witness, this woman, identified as A.K. in the documentary but later identified by Olushka Korbachenko by the press, had serious mental issues and was obsessed with blood.
There’s a lot more about this case that what I’ve summarized above, but I really encourage you to check it out by yourselves. The series is in hebrew, with subtitles.