A man accused of killing his wife and son in rural Nicosia in early February has pleaded not guilty to premeditated charges, while it remains unclear whether he will have a fitness hearing before the trial.
According to local media, 59-year-old Kostakis Yiangou was arraigned on Monday in a criminal court in Nicosia, where he pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including premeditated murder.
On February 11 in Ergates, rural Nicosia, according to details in the case, Yiangou flew into a rage early in the morning, stabbing to death his wife, 52-year-old Androula Avraksidou, and his 20-year-old son Stelios Yiangou.
While prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had murder intent, Yiangou's lawyer is expected to argue for diminished responsibility, essentially claiming insanity
Neighbours who heard screams and rushed to the scene said they saw the suspect trying to kill his older son but left the scene, with the 25-year-old suffering only superficial wounds.
The defendant’s lawyer has made statements to media raising a number of issues including social welfare services and the state’s responsibility towards his client, who had committed murder in the past.
Yiangou had stabbed to death his 10-year-old niece back in August 1976, when he was just 15 years old, with reports saying the teenager had stabbed the young girl 17 times. Although not convicted because he was a minor, he ended up in a mental institution for a long period of time.
In addition to a psychiatric evaluation requested by Yiangou’s lawyer, in order to determine whether the defendant is fit to stand trial, the defence is also expected to put up an insanity defence.
While prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had murder intent, the defence is expected to argue for diminished responsibility, essentially trying to demonstrate that Yiangou was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the crime and did not have full understanding of his actions.
The next hearing is scheduled for September 16, when the lawyer will address the court on issues about mental disorder defence, according to media reports. Yiangou will remain locked up in Nicosia Central Prisons until his next hearing, local media said.