Snake-charming murderer could make millions from companies he started while in prison

A snake charmer who served a prison sentence for murdering his reptile-trading partner could soon become a millionaire thanks to his tech company if Israel permits it, The Daily Beast reports.

Harel Hershtik was 14-years-old when he met his victim, venomous snake trader Yaakov Sela, in a zoo therapy class. Sela, who had a large youth following, latched on to Hershtik and began teaching him how care for a breed the reptiles, some of which weren't legal in Israel. Sela was also reportedly having a romantic relationship with Hershtik’s mother, Rina Hershtik.

Hershtik claims the relationship became manipulative and even abusive, which prompted him to vengefully steal around $15,000 from Sela. In court testimony, Hershtik said he had “a problem seeing him talking to women in demeaning ways, especially toward someone that I cared about and loved.”

When Sela found out about the stolen money, he told Hershtik he wouldn't report him to police if he paid back the money at a rate of 100 percent interest. Hershtik, who at the time was 20-years-old, responded by shooting Sela in the head and burying his body.

IN OTHER NEWS: CNN anchor breaks down after reporting from Buffalo: Is this the way we're supposed to live?

Speaking to the Associated Press, Hershtik, who is now on parole and wearing an ankle monitor, says he's remorseful for his actions. While in prison, he earned two doctorate degrees and founded a tech company which specializes in a medical device that the company says can detect disease through a breath test. Some say the millions he earned as the company's vice president should go towards his victims' families, but he disagrees.

“When I was young, I would say that I was stupid and arrogant,” the now-46-year-old told the AP. “You can be a genius and yet still be very stupid and the two don’t contradict each other.”

Hershtik's time in prison hasn't been without incident. He told the AP that he was stabbed by two Arab inmates after “hypothetically” suggesting Jewish inmates should catapult a severed hog’s head with a Quran in its mouth into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He says he sold six of the 31 companies he started while behind bars and now wants to take his tech company public through a merger that values the company at $250 million. “Trust me,” he told the AP. “This is not for the money.”

READ MORE: Man's gun discharges during confrontation with neighbor over 'racial issue' involving their children