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Jury Finds Yisrael Guilty in Luzerne County Murder Trial

WILKES-BARRE -- After four hours of deliberation, a jury found Eleazar Yisrael of Hazleton guilty of first-degree murder in Luzerne County court Tuesday.

The jury believed Yisrael killed his girlfriend's estranged husband last year and dumped his body in Carbon County.

The convicted murderer only smiled as he was led out of the Luzerne County Courthouse.

During the trial, Yisrael maintained his innocence. He even took the stand to testify he was out for a walk to clear his head when he was seen near the victim's home the morning of the murder.

But prosecutors called his testimony unbelievable. They point out Yisrael wanted Vacante's $200,000 house, and he could have lived there because if Vacante was out of the picture, the house would go to Vacante's estranged wife who Yisrael was dating at the time.

Yisrael was also found guilty of robbery, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. But Yisrael will spend the rest of his life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors hope the family is able to heal.

"If we could, we would give them Sam back, but we can't do that, but what we did give them was give them justice, which is all we can do," said Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Zola.

Prosecutors admitted when prosecuting this case, they only had circumstantial evidence. But they say it was the strongest circumstantial case they ever prosecuted.

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