Loizos Tzionis, the main defendant in the Strovolos double murder trial, changed his plea yet again on Monday, pleading guilty to all charges except that of murder.
He and two others – Lefteris Solomou, his half-brother, and friend Marios Hadjixenophontos – face two counts of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit a felony, burglary, robbery, abduction, and carrying lethal weapons (knives and a sword).
Premeditated murder carries an automatic life sentence. All three had entered a not-guilty plea to all charges.
Initially, Tzionis had pleaded guilty to all charges except burglary, arguing that the house he and the others entered was unlocked and he did not break in. He subsequently changed his plea to not guilty to all charges.
Tzionis has now changed his plea a second time, admitting to everything but the murder charge.
The trial took a dramatic turn last week, when Tzionis declared himself psychologically unfit after the prosecution requested to present in court the written testimony of 15-year-old Constantinos Hadjigeorgiou, son of the couple Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and 59-year-old Dina Sergiou, slain in the botched robbery in Strovolos in April last year.
The 15-year-old’s statement to the police was read out in court. In it, the youngster recounts how on the night a man entered his room, put his hand on his mouth and told him he just killed his parents.
The man then asked the boy about money. Wielding a knife, he led him downstairs to the kitchen. According to Constantinos, the man told him not to be afraid; he would not harm him, as he himself had a son.
The boy was later locked in the basement from where he managed to escape.
A fourth defendant, Tzionis’ ex-girlfriend Sarah Shams, was sentenced to four years in jail in February on a single charge of conspiracy to commit robbery. She had agreed to cooperate with the state in prosecuting the other defendants.
The trial continues.