A 23-year-old Larnaca man was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter on Wednesday in the killing of his 21-year-old sister with his army-issue G3 rifle in May last year in the district of Larnaca.
Elias Harpas had claimed he had been cleaning his G3 when it went off, the round hitting his sister Maria Harpa in the head.
The incident took place on May 5, 2020 in the afternoon, in the family’s home in the village of Klavdia.
The drama unfolded on the day of Maria’s birthday. She was two months pregnant and her fiancé had just proposed.
Investigators later discovered that the front brake lines on the sister’s car had been severed using a cutter.
The suspect reportedly admitted to cutting the brake lines, claiming he did so after a fight with his sister during which she had let the air out of the tyres of his car.
Harpas was charged with manslaughter, the theft of munitions from the National Guard, and malicious damage relating to tampering with the brakes.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter in this case is life in jail.
Murder entails premeditation and proving that would have been next to impossible.
He admitted to the tampering but denied the other two charges.
On July 8, his defence will plead for leniency.
In its 180-page decision, the criminal court rejected the defendant’s claims to police and during the trial as lies.
The court said the defendant had been hitting the rifle’s butt on the floor, supposedly to clear a jam, but in reality, all he wanted to do was to lock and load the weapon so that it could fire.
The defendant could have turned the rifle anywhere else, where there was no one, but he opted to turn it towards his sister, the court said.
According to the decision, the defendant fired as soon as his mother left the living room and went to the kitchen. When the shot was fired, the weapon’s muzzle was around 1.50 metres from his sister, whom he could see and knew she was sitting at the particular spot on the sofa.
A month before the incident, the 21-year-old had reported her brother to police for letting all the air out of her car’s tyres while a few hours before, he had tampered with her brakes.