|Gil Pereg guilty|
Gil Pereg, the Israeli man who alleged mental illness and was dubbed ‘cat man’ for meowing in court, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for murdering his mother and aunt in 2019.
The disturbing crime received worldwide coverage due to the cruelty of the murders and to the intriguing personality of the defendant, who received elite military training in Israel and has an IQ of 180.
The 12 person jury of Mendoza, Argentina on Wednesday needed only two and a half hours of deliberations to reject his insanity defence and found him guilty as charged.
He was accused of having brutally murdered in December 2019 his mother Pyrhia Sauroussy (63) and his aunt, Lily Pereg (54), who had come to visit him to his home in Guaymallén, Mendoza, where their bodies were mutilated and buried.
The case shocked the international Jewish community around the world. For that reason, and at the demand of the main international news networks and at the request of the victim's family, it was broadcasted live on YouTube to Israel and Australia with simultaneous subtitles in English and Hebrew.
Observers says it is the most famous jury trial in the world of all that have been made in Argentina.
Pyrhia lived in Israel; Lily in Australia, where she was serving as a prestigious associate professor of microbiology at the University of New England.
Gil Pereg became a celebrity 3 days ago when he was thrown out of the courtroom, after refusing the judge's order to stop meowing like a feline during his trial.
"Mr. Gil Pereg, before the entry of the jury I must warn you that if you want to remain in the courtroom, you should do so in silence, with respect and decorum," Judge Laura Guajardo says before ejecting him.
He was arrested and charged with homicide after the remains of his mother, Pyrhia Sarusi, 63, and her sister Dr. Lily Pereg, 54, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of New England in Australia, were found on his property in the city of Mendoza in January 2019.
The two were traveling in Argentina at the time of their murders. They had been missing for two weeks before their bodies were found under debris in Gilad Pereg’s home.
Pereg’s uncle said at the time that he was mentally ill, in financial dire straits, and lived in squalor with dozens of cats.
“He’s a real genius, he always was an excellent student, and got both his undergraduate and masters degrees from the Technion,” Moshe Pereg told reporters. But Gil’s behavior radically changed in 2006, he said. “I think he suffered a mental breakdown that went undiagnosed.”
After the breakdown, Moshe Pereg said his nephew turned to online gambling and ended up in significant debt. He left Israel for Argentina a short time later to escape his mounting financial problems.
He said Gil Pereg had little contact with his mother, though she continued to support him financially over the years. Despite the financial help, Moshe Pereg said Gil “lived like a homeless person” in a small house with dozens of cats.
- The Times of Israel (11/3/21): "Israeli man convicted in Argentina of murdering mother, aunt" (see)