By Philip Mark
Five of the six suspects in the murder trial for the bloody June 23 Ayia Napa shooting of businessman Phanos Theophanos Kalopsidiotis and three others were charged in Larnaca court Monday.
Two suspects who have turned state witnesses pleaded guilty.
Marios Christodoulou, aka ‘Bennis’, 38, Panayiotis Pentafkas, 39, and Sofia Gregoriou, 29, all pleaded not guilty to 20 charges read out by prosecutor Elli Papagapiou. These included conspiracies to commit a felony, premeditated murder, attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and theft and arson of the vehicle used in the killings.
Serbian suspect Loy Dejan, 42, did not plead Monday, as his lawyer withdrew and a new one took over who needed time to study the case. This followed his being granted legal aid following the presentation of a welfare report into his financial situation which was ordered at the last hearing.
Charalambos Andreou, 32, who admitted all 20 charges levelled against him, and on whose testimony the others were arrested, will be the main prosecution witness, his lawyer having told the court of his client’s willingness to testify for the state. He is expected to have the facts of his case read out and a penalty imposed at the next hearing which was set for October 20.
Andreou’s neighbour, Soteria Nephitou, 30, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and according to her lawyer was also willing to appear for the prosecution. She is also expected to have the facts against her read out and sentence passed. The court asked for a report into her financial situation be compiled.
Christodoulou and Andreou were also charged with conspiring to commit crimes not directly related to the Ayia Napa offences, these being the attempted premediated murders of Alexis Mavromichalis, Joseph Joseph and Christodoulos Demitriou. The prosecution says these took place between May and June of this year.
The judge ordered all suspects to be held at the central prisons until the next hearing, with none of the defence lawyers objecting.
Only relatives of the suspects and victims were allowed into the courtroom apart from the media, with checks carried out on all those present. The blinds in the room were drawn, preventing any view from the outside.
A heavy, armed police presence in and around the court, ensured no incidents occurred but relatives of the deceased did address one of the suspects as he was led out the court shouting “You will rot in prison, you son of a bitch.”
Kalopsidiotis, along with police officer Elias Hadjiefthimiou, 46, and his wife Skevi, 39 and the couple’s two children, Charalambos 15, and Andreas 12, were having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant when gunmen stormed in with pistols and automatic weapons, showering the scene with bullets. Kalopsidiotis, the police officer, his wife and one of two Albanian shooters, Jani Vogli, were all killed in the attack. Two others present, including a MMAD police officer were injured.
Wanted Albanian Aleks Burreli, who is still at large and may have fled to the occupied north soon after the murders, is believed to be the other gunman who escaped the scene.
Both men are believed to have been involved in the attempted killings linked to Christodoulou and Andreou.