The suspect for the murder of 32-year-old tax officer Dora Zeberi has been positively identified through DNA left on two paper napkins soaked in the victim’s blood, which were found near the murder site, police revealed on Wednesday. In addition to the DNA and other evidence linking him to the crime, the suspect has also confessed to the murder, police said.
Zeberi was killed by a knife-wielding assailant in Athens’ 2nd Cemetery, who attacked her on October 18 while she was visiting the grave of a deceased friend, stabbing her 14 times.
Presenting the findings of a police investigation, the Attica Security Police said the suspect in custody was a known criminal and drug addict who had only recently been released from prison, where he was serving time following his arrest in 2011 for possession of 37.5 kilos of hashish.
The 58-year-old suspect, who is divorced and has one daughter, has repeatedly been in trouble with the law for thefts, arms and drug law violations.
Describing the events leading to Zeberi’s murder on October 18, as reconstructed by the police investigation, Police Major General Christos Papazafiris said the suspect had entered the cemetery by scaling a wall from the railway tracks, in order to steal metal and copper candlesticks and other items from the graves. Seeing the victim, he had approached her and threatened her with a knife, demanding that she give him her handbag. When she refused he attacked her, stabbing her repeatedly with the knife and inflicting fatal injuries.
The suspect then left the cemetery the same way that he came and burned the victim’s bag and its contents, apart from her mobile phone. He also threw away the knife and his bloody shirt in a rubbish bin that was more than a kilometre from the cemetery.
He then boarded a bus and went to the Omonia area, where he sold the victim’s phone for 20 euros. Police tracked the phone’s signal to the area and obtained CCTV footage of the 58-year-old’s face from the store camera. After scouring the Omonia area and showing a photograph of the suspect to local shop staff and residents, he was found and arrested in the Rizoupoli area on Tuesday morning.
He has been charged with intentional homicide and repeated counts of robbery, as well as violations of weapons’ law, and his case has been now referred to an examining magistrate. The suspect was given an extension until Friday morning to prepare his testimony.
As he left the court complex earlier on Wednesday, the 58-year-old was attacked by angry relatives of
the victim and onlookers, who broke through the police cordon and assaulted him violently before police were able to get him away.
Replying to criticism regarding the suspect’s early release from prison, meanwhile, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis clarified that this was not due to the more lenient provisions of the Paraskevopoulos law. The suspect was eligible for normal release with conditions after his 20-year sentence was reduced to 12 years at appeal, the minister said. Upon the issue of the secondary court ruling, he pointed out, the suspect had already served three-fifths of his sentence, making him eligible for release on June 15, 2017.
“I hope the misinformation will stop here,” the minister added.