A young man in Larnaca who killed his sister with a single gunshot to the head will go on trial for involuntary manslaughter, after police prosecutors said evidence of premeditated murder was not sufficient.
The suspect, a 23-year-old Greek Cypriot man, is being accused of shooting and killing his sister in their family home in Larnaca's Klavdia community. He appeared before a Larnaca district judge on Friday, with his arraignment day set for June 11. Prosecutors have asked the court that the suspect remain jailed throughout the trial, with the judge expected to make a decision on Monday.
Prosecutors have asked the court that the suspect remain jailed throughout the trial, with the judge expected to make a decision on Monday
According to local media, the suspect has admitted to investigators that initially he lied to police about his whereabouts on the day of the incident, when he shot and killed his sister, 21-year-old Maria Harpa.
The victim was shot in the head with a single bullet while sitting in her own living room around 5:50pm, while the mother of the siblings was reportedly in an adjacent room. Maria was reportedly two months pregnant when she died on the last day before she was about to move in with her fiancé, according to local media.
Her brother maintained that he was cleaning his gun at home when it accidentally fired.
Recent fights within the family
Media reports also painted a more troubling picture, with members of the family recently allegedly having intense arguments as well as reports that police had gone to the house to remove two hunting rifles that were registered to the suspect's father.
Police told Knews on Friday morning that any confiscations of hunting rifles earlier this year in Larnaca district were not connected to the suspect.
The suspect admitted to police that he cut the brake lines in his sister’s vehicle on the day of the incident, telling investigators he believed Maria was responsible for letting the air out of his tires.
Reports also said the suspect spent many hours in his car at a remote location with his G3 military rifle in possession, prior to the incident.
Prosecutors: evidence not sufficient for premeditated
But prosecutors in the case reportedly did not believe there was sufficient evidence to charge the suspect with premeditated murder, which would automatically carry a life sentence if convicted. An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries anywhere between six months to life.
Legal experts said the mother's testimony would be pivotal in the trial, as she was reportedly the only other person in the house at the time of the shooting.
Reports said the mother was in the living room with her daughter and son and had reportedly told investigators she had seen her son cleaning his gun that day. She said she left the room and went to the kitchen at the exact moment when the gun went off, according to local reports.