JERUSALEM — An American-Israeli man who was serving time in a prison in central Israel for the grisly murder of a teenager in a Washington suburb in 1997 was killed in a shootout with Israeli security forces on Sunday after he shot and wounded several prison guards, according to the police.
The death of the inmate, Samuel Sheinbein, 34, who escaped to Israel after the murder and fought off extradition to the United States, brought a dramatic conclusion to a painful episode that had strained American-Israeli relations.
Mr. Sheinbein fled to Israel on Sept. 21, 1997, days after the body of Alfredo Tello, 19, was discovered burned and dismembered in the garage of an empty house near the Sheinbein home in Silver Spring, Md. Mr. Sheinbein, who was 17 at the time, reached Israel, a country he had not previously visited, with the help of his father. Since his father held Israeli citizenship, and by virtue of being Jewish, he was automatically entitled to full citizenship rights.
Under an Israeli law in effect at the time, no Israeli citizen could be extradited on murder charges if the potential sentence was more severe than that which could be imposed in Israel. Despite pressure from the United States and the misgivings of many Israelis, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that he should not be extradited. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison in October 1999. Israel’s extradition law has since been amended.
It was not immediately clear how Mr. Sheinbein came to be in possession of a weapon in prison.
American Held in Israeli Prison Dies in Shootout