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Former Doctor Dodges Prison With Plea Deal After Killing His Dad, Strangling Girlfriend

Rafael Azulay will not do prison time for killing his dad, Asher Azulay, or for strangling his girlfriend.

By Gina Tron
Judge Gavel G

A former Florida doctor who killed his father and strangled his own girlfriend has taken a plea deal that will result in no prison time. 

Rafael Azulay, 47, pleaded no contest to domestic battery by strangulation and homicide-manslaughter by culpable negligence for the 2018 attacks, the Miami Herald reports. He was sentenced to community control probation for both on Thursday, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

In March of 2018, he was arrested on domestic violence charges for the third time in regards to the abuse of his girlfriend. He was charged with felony domestic violence, battery-strangulation and misdemeanor battery. The girlfriend shared photos from the incident, which show intense bruising all over her face and neck, with the Miami Herald.

“Had I known [that he would only get community service], I wouldn’t have testified,” she told the outlet on Saturday. 

In the past he had allegedly threatened to put her in a “body bag" as a way to get her to not testify against him regarding prior domestic assault charges, according to the Miami Herald.

The woman told the outlet that she is now “making plans to change my name and move out of the state.”

“I think he is going to find me, and he is going to kill me, and then he is going to kill himself,” she told the Miami Herald.

While out on bond for attacking her, Azulay fatally shot his dad Asher Azulay in May of 2018. He then shot himself in the head and stomach.

Dina Azulay, Rafael’s mother and the only witness to the shooting, initially told investigators that her son had threatened to kill both her and her husband, WFLA reports. Later, she retracted that statement and claimed that the shooting was accidental. While Rafael was originally charged with murder for his dad's death as well as aggravated assault for allegedly threatening his mother, the charges were later reduced to manslaughter with a firearm.

Rafael’s lawyer Hilliard Moldof told the Miami Herald his client suffered a traumatic brain injury after shooting himself in the head and was therefore incompetent to stand trial.

“He could understand the ramifications of taking a plea, but in a trial he couldn’t,” Moldof said. “The experts said he couldn’t testify relevantly or assist a lawyer in his defense.”

He claims his client is “not a danger at all.”

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