Friday 25th of Zul-Hijjah, 1255 H (28th of February 1840).
The Meeting of the Investigation Committee Participants:
Liwa Sadiq Bey, Commander of Cavalry Artillery
French Consul to
Assistant to the French Consul, Mr. Beaudin
Mr. Massari Hakeem, Governor of
Due to the denial of the accused men, who were jailed and separated from each other, as of now, and the fact that they are all holding firm to their statements "that they knew nothing regarding the disappearance of Father Thomas, and due to the increasing doubt about the role of the barber, Soliman Saloom, it is necessary to bring him back to stand before the Investigation Committee. When he was brought before the investigators again he was bombarded with fast and repeated questions. At the same time he was promised protection if he confessed to the whole truth. So he confessed as follows:
David Harari, and his
servant Murad Al-Fattal, left from my shop to his
house about half an hour alter sunset. When I entered the house I found
therein Aaron Harari, Isaac Harari, Joseph Lifyado,
Rabbi Moussa Abou Al-Afieh,
and Rabbi Moussa Bokhoor Yehuda (Salaniki), and Father
Thomas who was bound. Then David Harari and his brother Aaron said to me,
"go and slay Father Thomas." I said to them,
"I cannot do that." They said, "wait."
Then they got up and brought a knife.
I threw him (Father Thomas) down on the ground and held him down with the help
of the others, and placed his neck on the edge of a large wash basin. David
took the knife and slew him. Aaron completed the slaying afterward. They
drained his blood and were careful not to spill one drop outside the dishpan.
We then pulled him from the room in which he was slain to another room
containing some wood. We took off his clothes and burned them. Murad Al-Fattal, the servant of David Harari came and found
Father Thomas, in the room with wood, slain and naked. The seven men then
requested me with the help of the servant Murad to
cut the body into small pieces. We asked them, "what
are we to do with it?" They replied, "throw
him in the
Q: What did you do with the bones?
A: We placed the bones on the tiles and smashed them with the mortar's handle.
Q: What did you do with the head?
A: We smashed it the same way.
Q: Did they pay you some money?
A: I mentioned to you that they promised their servant marriage expenses, and promised me money. They also threatened that they would accuse us of the murder if we told of their secret.
Q: What kind of sack did you use to move the cut pieces of body? Did you use one or more sacks? Did you carry the sack by yourself or did you and the servant take turns in carrying them? What color were the sacks?
A: The sacks were made of jute. They were of a bluish color. Only one sack was used. The servant and I carried it together.
Q: How did you cooperate with the servant in carrying it?
A: We carried it together. Sometimes I carried it by myself. At other times the servant carried it by himself.
Q: Where did you put the sack after you finished your work?
A: We left it in David Harari's house.
Q: It appears from your statements that when you slew Father Thomas you put his blood in the wash basin, and no single drop of blood fell outside the basin. But after you pulled the body to the other room, and cut it to pieces, still no blood was spilled?
A: In fact I did not pay attention if blood came from the body or if it did not.
Q: What was the floor of the room like, where you cut up the body? Was it made of dirt or tiles?
A: The room was unfinished one full of dirt and wood. The cutting of the body was done on dirt.
Q: What did you do with his internal organs? How did you carry them? Did you cut them up? What did you do with them?
A: We cut them all and put them in the sack which we threw its contents in the salty (Black) River.
Q: Did any of the parts drop or leak out of the sack?
A: When a coffee sack gets wet with water it becomes thick; this prevents anything from leaking out of it.
Q: How many of you participated in the cutting, and how many knives did you use, and what kind?
A: The seven men directed us to the way of the cutting. But the servant and I did the work alternately. When one got tired the other would take over. The knife we used was of the kind used by butchers. The same was used in the slaying.
Q: What did you do with it after the completion of the work?
A: We left it in David Harari's house.
Q: Where are the tiles that were used for the breaking of the bones located?
A: They are located between the two rooms, it is a covered walkway.
Q: How long did the slaying take? Was the servant present or not? If he was not present what time did he come? Who opened the door for him?
A: The servant was not present during the slaying. He came after the removal of the body to the second room, and after the clothing had been stripped from the body. Someone opened the door for him.
Q: Were there any women or children in the house? Was anyone other than the seven men present in the house?
A: There was no one other than the seven men, the servant, and myself present.
Q: At exactly what time did the slaying take place? How long did you wait for the blood flow to cease? At what time did you move the body to the other room? At what time did the servant come? How long did it take for the whole task? Where did you put the blood after you finished your task?
A: The operation started about two hours past sunset or a little later. Since the room floor level was about one step higher than the rest of the house, the neck of the Priest was placed at the top of the step, a wash basin was placed on the floor (under the head), it took about half an hour, perhaps two thirds of an hour, for the blood to stop. Then we transferred the body to the second room about an hour and a half after Isha. When the servant arrived the body was naked. When we finished with the operation it was about As for the blood, it was left in the basin in the first room. I left afterward and I did not know what they did with the blood. The servant remained after my departure.
Q: Where did the removal of the clothes from the body take place? Who performed the task?
A: The removal of the clothes from the body took place in the same room where the body itself was cut to pieces. David and Aaron removed the clothes in the presence of all the rest.
Q: What kind of body cover was Father Thomas wearing? And, what type of material was the belt?
A: Father Thomas was wearing a black robe. I did not touch it with my hands. His belt was the usual one, simply a white rope.
Q: Is the
A: The River is covered. There is a flat stone at the entrance of the chicken market next to Rabbi Moussa Abou Al-Afieh's house, which is used as a cover. The River is exposed when the stone is removed. That is where we threw the remains of the body.
At this point the barber was returned to his private (solitary) room where he was imprisoned. Then the servant Murad Al-Fattal was recalled for questioning. They (the Investigation Committee) told him that the barber has confessed to everything and that there was no use for his denial.
The servant, Murk1 Al-Fattal,
said: "I was not present when the slaying of Father Thomas Al-Capuci was carried out. When I came I found him slain and
naked in the rabbi's room, where there was only dirt and wood. Soliman and I then started cutting the body. This was in
the presence of David Harari, Aaron Harari, Isaac Harari, Joseph Harari, Joseph
Lifyado, Rabbi Moussa Abou Al-Afieh, and Rabbi Moussa Bokhoor Yehuda. After we cut the
body into small pieces, we then carried it and threw it in the
Then the questioning was resumed by the Investigator and the answers of Murad are as follows:
Q: What did you do with the bones?
A: We broke them with mortar handle over the floor tiles.
Q: What did you do with the head?
A: We smashed it with the handle too, over the floor tiles.
Q: Did they pay you money?
A: They promised to pay for my marriage expenses to the girl whom I was engaged to. They also promised the barber money.
Q: What kind of a sack did you use? Did you have one or more sacks? Did you carry the sack alone or did you carry one and the barber another? What was the color of the sack?
A: There was only one sack. We cooperated in carrying it together sometimes and one of us at other times. I carried alone, then the barber took a turn by himself. The color of the sack was white with blue shade.
Q: Where did you put the sack after you finished your work?
A: I do not know anything about it, or its whereabouts.
Q: It appears from your statement that when you slew Father Thomas you put his blood in the wash basin without single drop of blood falling outside the basin. But after you pulled his body to the other room and cut it to pieces was there still no blood which came from the body?
A: Some blood dropped from the arteries, but the dirt absorbed it. Nothing remained visible on the surface of the dirt floor.
Q: How about the internal organs? What did you do with them? How did you carry them? What did you do with them?
A: The internal organs were cut with their contents, put in the sack and then we threw them along with the other body pieces in the River.
Q: Did any blood or contents of the intestines leak from the sack during the removal operation?
A: The sack material was strong. It did not allow any leaking from the sack.
Q: Who participated in the cutting operation? How many knives did you use? What kind were they?
A: We used only one knife. It was the type used by butchers. No one other than Soliman and myself did the cutting which was done in the presence of the seven other men.
Q: Did you not ask regarding Father Thomas clothes as to what they did with them when you found him naked?
A: I asked. They said they had burnt them.
Q: Where is the place of the floor tiles which you used to break the bones over it?
A: The floor tiles are located between the two rooms, it is a covered area.
Q: When did you start with the operation and at what time did you finish with it?
A: We started about . The work lasted until about seven.
Q: Where is the
Q: Where did the barber go after completing the operation?
A: He went to his house.
Q: And you! How long after that did you stay at your master's house? Did you spend the evening with the others? What did you do?
A: I waited an hour and a half. I prepared the tobacco for the smoking of water-pipes for them and then I went to my house and slept. I do not know if they stayed overnight or went home.
The Investigator purposely asked Murad the same questions as were previously addressed to the barber. The answers of both men matched completely, almost with identical information. Thereupon, the Chairman (Head) of the Investigation Committee, Liwa Sadiq Bey, decided to immediately move to the scene of the crime. The members of the Committee agreed and accompanied him. They started their search with David Harari's house, the place where the crime was committed and carried out. The Investigator asked the barber Soliman Saloom (who was brought along with the others to identify the objects and places):
Q: Where did you carry out the slaying operation?
A: Here! In this furnished room. He (the Priest) was laid in the middle of the room; they put the wash basin under his neck and slew him.
Q: Where did you carry out the cutting of the body?
A: In this rubbish room. The wood was piled under the arch from the west near the door. Some blood traces were visible on the walls of the room.
Q: Where did you break his bones and his head?
A: In this flat space between the two rooms across the portico. (There appeared to be collapsed tiles caused by heavy pounding.)
Then the mortar handle was brought in. The barber recognized it and confirmed that it was the tool used to break the bones.
Next, the knives were introduced - there were three knives. The barber said that the knife he used was not one of them. It is much longer and sharper than these, he said. They searched for the knife but could not find it. The Investigators then dismissed the barber and called the servant Murad Al-Fattal to the scene. They asked him the same questions; and the answers were an exact match to that of the barber.
He pointed out the place where the cutting was performed; the place used to break the bones, and he recognized the mortar handle to be the same as he had used. Also he did not agree on the knives presented to him. He was asked about the place where the pieces of body were thrown. He led the Investigators to the Friday Marketplace and stopped in front of Rabbi Moussa Abou Al-Afieh's house and pointed at the place where the flat stone was removed and the body of Father Thomas Al-Capuci was thrown in the River.
The Investigators dismissed the servant and recalled the barber Soliman Saloom. He Confirmed the exact place where the remains of Father Thomas had been disposed by dumping them in the River. He lifted the stone covering, and the traces of flesh and blood were clearly visible therein.
The Investigation Committee called in specialized workers. The workers went down to the Salty River bottom and brought some parts of the body --- pieces of flesh, the liver, the heart, and some blood; and the head with pieces of Father Thomas' head dress.
Then the Chairman of the Committee, Liwa Sadiq Bey, ordered the transfer of what they had found to the Office of the Governor. He then he ordered them to send all his finding to the French Consul, after packing the remains of Father Thomas in special container, so that a medical committee of doctors could examine the bones to determine whether they were of human or animal type. After the examination the French Consul sent two reports on the matter.
The Testimony of His Excellency
the Consul of Austria1
I, the undersigned, the Consul of Austria in
The Austrian Consul to
The Testimony of the French Doctors1
We the undersigned doctors, responsible agents of His
Excellency the Governor, went to the residence of the French Consul for the
purpose of examining bones. The examination revealed them to be those of a
human being. Therefore, we gave this testimony in
1 The Patriarchate Magazine, VI, 1931, pp. 657-672.
1 Rinaldi; G. Piccolo; F. Massari; Amiantia-Lorasso also the Governor physician and the Hospital head doctor.
Testimony of the Doctors Committee
The reason for this testimony, on this date, we the
undersigned were called to the residence of His Excellency the French Consul in
Haj Misto Al-Sati, Chief Surgeon
Mr. Khalif, Surgeon Dr. Mohamad Amin Sakr. Dr. Mohamad Al-Sati
Dr. Mohamad Ben Al-Said Moussa
Witnessed by Michael Mashagah
The Testimony of Joseph the Barber
I, the undersigned, the barber who cut Father Thomas Al-Capuci hair as his barber, bear witness that the pieces of the black headdress which I saw at His Excellency's office, at the French Consul's residence in Damascus, were truly pieces from the headdress which Father Thomas used to wear. I identified the marking of the headdress to Father Franci's Al-Capuci at my shop before seeing and identifying the pieces of the headdress at His Excellency's House. I observed with certainty the red mark that I encircled the lower rim of the interior part of the headdress and which was a darker color than the upper part. This is what I know, and I bear witness to it before God.
(Joseph the Barber)
Witness of Truth
Earlier the French Consul asked the servant Murad Al-Fattal the following:
"You stated that they were very careful in their collection of the blood in the basin, What did they do with it?" The servant answered: "It was for the asking of bread, a kind of bread used religiously." The Consul said: "How did you learn that?" the servant answered: "I heard them saying that the blood was for making the unleavened bread."
Then the Chairman of the Investigation Committee asked: "Since you did no see the blood, how did you know that they took it to make the unleavened bread?" He answered: "I asked them why did you keep the blood? and they answered me: to make unleavened bread."
The Chairman of the Committee resumed his questioning: "Was the slaying of Father Thomas for reason of an obligatory nature mandated by the Jewish Religion? Or was there feeling of hatred between them (Father Thomas and the Jews)? Or did they desire to put their hands on his money?" He answered: "I have no knowledge about that."
With that revelation the case of the slaying of Father Thomas Al-Capuci was confirmed, and the identifications and details were apparent. But the case of the murder of his servant, Ibrahim Amarah Al-Roomi, was not confirmed. Nothing was yet known about it. Therefore, it was decided to recall the group of seven men to question them with kindness and without the exercise of any pressure, to be satisfied with the facts, and to place them face to face before the deeds they had committed.