The arraignment of a 40-year-old murder suspect began on Thursday morning, with the defendant facing life imprisonment if he is found guilty of killing Yianoula Hadjiyianni last month.
The suspect, Giorgi Baratashvili from Georgia, is facing charges of premeditated murder, accused of stabbing to death Hadjiyianni, a 56-year-old store manager at a grocery store in Kalopanayiotis. She was attacked and killed on November 12 inside her own car outside her Oikos village in Marathasa, a quiet area in Nicosia district.
Baratashvili’s lawyer asked the judges for additional time to study the charges. No objections were raised and the court set January 9 as the next hearing date for answering to the charges.
The defendant is stacked up against a mountain of evidence, including blood stains on his clothing, on money bills found in his apartment, and in his bathroom
Police believe robbery was a motive but it was not clear whether other scenarios have been fully ruled out. Reports said the victim stopped outside her village on her lunch break to give a ride to the suspect, who was described as a male acquaintance. Another female inside the vehicle, described as a friend of the victim, got off prior to the murder, leaving the suspect in the back seat and the victim at the steering wheel.
The defendant initially denied involvement but later confessed during intense interrogation. He is stacked up against a mountain of evidence, including blood stains on his clothing, on money bills found in his apartment, and in his bathroom. A pocket knife was also recovered from the victim’s vehicle, while a witness statement alluded to a knife bought several hours before the murder at a local souvenir shop. The amount of €1505 in cash was also found on the day of his arrest, with Baratashvili admitting he had taken the money from the victim’s car.
The bloody clothes and shoes were discovered inside a blue backpack which had been thrown inside a recycling bin.
An eye witness also told cops she saw the murder in broad daylight, describing in vivid detail seeing a man killing Hadjiyianni and running away. She said she saw the perpetrator in the back seat attacking the victim, who was in the driver’s seat, stabbing her several times with a knife before exiting the vehicle, locking it, and running away.