A man being held in a Spanish prison, charged with the December murder of Westport jeweler Yukutiel Zeevi, was found dead in his cell on Wednesday, Jan. 25, one day after his arrest.
Andrew R. Levene, a former resident of West Haven, apparently hanged himself with bed sheets in his prison cell at the Modelo prison in Barcelona. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid was notified of his death and Spanish authorities opened an investigation, according to the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.
Levene, 41, a former Army ranger, was awaiting extradition to Connecticut on charges that he fatally shot Zeevi, the 65-year old owner of Y.Z. Jewelry at Compo Shopping Center in Westport, on the night of Dec. 8, and wounded one of Zeevi’s business associates. Levene was also charged with absconding with approximately $300,000 in diamonds.
According to Westport Police Chief Dale Call, the investigation into Zeevi’s murder would carry on despite Levene’s death.
“We still have people actively involved in the investigation and that will continue,” he said. “This is a tragedy for all involved.”Levene’s suicide put an end to an extradition process that promised to be long and complicated. Spain, whose constitution bans capital punishment, does not extradite prisoners in cases where the death penalty is possible. Thus, the Spanish government would only have agreed to extradite Levene if the U.S. Department of Justice assured Spanish authorities that capital punishment was off the table.