TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida doctor who allegedly strangled his girlfriend before shooting and killing his father while out on bond has been sentenced to community control probation, NBC 6 reported.
Dr. Rafael Azulay, 47, of Weston, shot himself in the head and stomach after gunning down his father, Asher Azulay, on May 12, 2018. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
His mother, Dina Azulay, the only witness to the shooting, told investigators she and her husband went to their son’s home to help him find the charger to his ankle monitor. According to the original report, his mother told investigators they arrived to find her son with a gun, and that he threatened to kill them both. He killed his father. His mother was able to escape and call 911.
The mother would later say the shooting was accidental and deny he threatened her, according to NBC 6.
Azulay had been out of jail on bond following a March 2018 incident involving his former girlfriend. He was charged with felony domestic violence battery-strangulation and misdemeanor battery. It was his third arrest for domestic violence against his partner.
According to the Miami Herald, his ex-girlfriend had told investigators she hadn’t cooperated in the past because Azulay had a gun and threatened to “bring her to her mother in a body bag.”
“He also warned her he will never go back to jail and will take as many people down as [necessary] before going back to jail,” the arrest report said, according to the newspaper.
But according to NBC 6, the assault charge was dropped and the murder charge was reduced to manslaughter with a firearm.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office raised a number of issues with the domestic violence charges in a closeout memo issued last week. Prosecutors said the woman was in contact with Azulay after his release, and her behavior would be problematic at trial.
“Given the victim’s history, it was also unknown if the victim would actually appear and testify against the defendant if called to do so at trial,” the memo said.
It also said if the shooting case had gone to trial, prosecutors would have to declare his mother a hostile witness. Dina Azulay has reportedly blamed her son’s actions on drug usage and the domestic violence charges against him.
“Subsequent to the filing of the case, Dina Azulay appeared in court at a number of hearings, shouting at the Judge that this was an accident, he didn’t meant to shoot his father, that he hadn’t threatened her with a gun and that she did not want to prosecute,” the memo said.
The memo also noted Dr. Azulay had no criminal record and had already been in jail or hospitalized for nearly four years.
His attorney, Hilliard Moldof, told NBC 6 his client had suffered a traumatic brain injury and was incompetent to stand trial.
“He could understand the ramifications of taking a plea, but in a trial he couldn’t,” said Moldof. “The experts said he couldn’t testify relevantly or assist a lawyer in his defense.”
The doctor will spend two years on house arrest, living with his mother, then another 10 years on probation for the manslaughter charge. He received one year of community control and credit for time served on the battery charges. He must also surrender his medical license, which is already “null and void,” according to the Herald.
“How has life been for me leading up to this? It’s been awful,” Azulay’s former partner, who asked only to be identified as “Angela” told NBC 6. “I’m worried about my safety, my family’s safety.”
“I think he is going to find me, and he is going to kill me, and then he is going to kill himself,” she added.
But his attorney told the news station he doesn’t believe his client is a danger to society.
“He’s not a danger at all. I mean, back then whatever was going on I didn’t represent him. But he’s on a very strict plan,” Moldof said. “[Angela] said in open court she wants him out, she wishes him well.”
Angela said she denied asking for his release and that she had pushed for a 12-year no contact order. She said prosecutors had initially recommended a two-year order.