Indiana Death Row

(a.k.a. Obadayah Ben-Yisrayl)


DOB: 01-20-1969 DOC#: 922005 Black Male

Lake County Superior Court
Judge James L. Clement

Prosecutor: James J. Olszewski, Ralph Staples, John G. Evon

Defense: Alex Woloshansky, Jerry T. Jarrett

Date of Murder: December 18, 1990

Victim(s): Eli Balovsky W/M/60; George Balovsky W/M/66 No relationship to Peterson)

Method of Murder: shooting with sawed-off shotgun

Summary: The Balovsky brothers were found dead in their tailor shop as a result of shotgun wounds to the head. A sawed-off shotgun, identified as the murder weapon, was later recovered from Peterson's home after his mother consented to the search. Peterson made incriminating statements to an acquaintance, and gave a complete confession to police. He also confessed to two additional murders in Porter County, for which he was later convicted. These convictions served as the basis for a second aggravating circumstance in the case.

Inmate Website:

Trial: Information/PC for Murder and Death Sentence filed (03-01-91); Individual Voir Dire (04-20-92, 04-21-92, 04-22-92, 04-23-92); Jury Trial (04-24-92, 04-25-92, 04-27-92, 04-28-92, 04-29-92, 04-30-92, 05-01-92, 05-02-92); Deliberations (05-02-92, 05-03-92, 05-04-92); Guilty Verdict (05-04-92); DP Trial (05-04-92); Verdict Against DP (05-04-92); Court Sentencing (06-05-92).

Conviction: Murder, Murder

Sentencing: June 5, 1992 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: Convicted of two other murders in Porter County, 2 murders

Mitigating Circumstances: Neglected in childhood by Father, caring and supportive of others, particularly girlfriend and baby, good and quiet prisoner during confinement, extreme emotional disturbance, high school graduate, two years in Marines, Father of 11 month old baby, 21 years old at time of murders.

Direct Appeal:
Peterson v. State, 674 N.E.2d 528 (Ind. December 13, 1996)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 5-0
Dickson Opinion; Shepard, Sullivan, Selby, Boehm concur.
Ben-Yisrayl v. Indiana, 118 S.Ct. 858 (1998) (Cert. denied).

Judge overrides jury recommendation against Death Penalty.

PCR Petition filed 12-29-97.
PCR denied 09-30-98 by Lake County Superior Court Judge James L. Clement and Magistrate Kathleen A. Sullivan.
Ben-Yisrayl v. State, 729 N.E.2d 102 (Ind. May 25, 2000)
(Appeal of denial of PCR by Lake County Superior Court)
Affirmed 5-0; Shepard Opinion, Dickson, Sullivan, Boehm, Rucker concur.
Ben-Yisrayl v. Indiana, 122 S.Ct. 73 (2001) (Cert. denied)

Permission to file successive PCR denied by Indiana Supreme Court 02-15-02.

12-12-01 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Writ denied 12-27-02 by U.S. District Court Judge Allen Sharp.

Ben-Yisrayl v. Davis, 245 F.Supp.2d 960 (N.D.Ind. December 27, 2002).
(Order of United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Judge Allen Sharp, denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.)

Ben-Yisrayl v. Davis, 245 F.Supp.2d 973 (N.D.Ind. February 19, 2003).
(Order of United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Judge Allen Sharp, denying Motion to Amend Judgment, holding that Ring v. Arizona is not to be applied retroactively.)

09-10-04 Post-Conviction Relief is granted as to death sentence only, based upon the decision of the Indiana Supreme Court in Saylor v. State, where the Court ruled that any death sentence not returned by the jury was “inappropriate.”

On Remand:
12-12-04 Peterson is resentenced by Lake County Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak to consecutive terms of 60 years imprisonment on each of two murder counts, for a total sentence of 120 years imprisonment.

As of July 1, 2006

Home Page | Disclaimer | Office Overview | Clark County Indiana
Clark County Courts | Adult Protective Services | Child Support Division
Domestic Violence | Controlled Substances | Juvenile Crime
Death Penalty | For Police Officers | Victim / Witness Services
WWW Links | Contact Us | Search Our Site