The confessed murderer of 32-year-old tax office employee Dora Zerberi was nearly lynched by the woman’s family, friends and other citizens at Athens’ Evelpidon courthouse today.
The family is still reeling from yesterday’s revelation that the culprit – a 58-year-old drug addict who had been jailed in 2011 for possession of 37.5 kilos of marijuana – essentially murdered his victim for 25 euros – the 20 euros he received for selling her cell phone and the 5 euros in her bag.
The victim was murdered in Athens’ Second Cemetery with a knife, with 14 stab wounds. The accused says he lost control after the woman refused to hand over her cell phone. He claimed that he had mugged people previously in other cemeteries, but that this was his first in this graveyard.
“I saw her cell phone. I was going to grab it and cell it to get my hit of drugs. She reacted by hitting me and trying to escape. That is when I lost it. I took out the knife and started stabbing. I was afraid they would catch me,” the culprit said in his confession.
The confessed murderer was released from Halkida prison after six years. Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis denied reports that the inmate was released under the terms of a controversial law passed by former justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos to decongest Greek prisons.
Thousands of prisoners, including felons and violent criminals were released. They included the recent murderer of Athens lawyer Michalis Zafeiropoulos, who was shot dead in his office.
Paraskevopoulos this week conceded that the law should be rescinded.
Beyond his confession, police have gathered genetic and other evidence against the culprit. That included a tissue with the man’s DNA and genetic evidence from a wall that he apparently jumped to escape after the attack.
In their investigation, police questioned dozens of possible witnesses and suspects and gleaned evidence from CCTV cameras near the crime scene.
The key that apparently broke the case was that the culprit left the woman’s cell phone switched on, and it was traced to Athens’ Omonia Square area where he sold it to a store trading in used phones, on Menandrou Street. The confessed murderer was discovered by police on video from the shop cameras.