Gun experts testified on Monday in the Larnaca death by kin trial, where a young man says he killed his sister after firing his military rifle accidentally.
According to local media, two gun experts from the National Guard appeared before a Larnaca criminal court to give testimony in a manslaughter trial, with a 23-year-old reservist accused of killing his 21-year-old sister Maria Harpa on May 5.
According to local media, the defendant previously admitted killing Maria in their family home in Klavdia, Larnaca district, but he maintained it was an accident due to unintentional discharge caused by a malfunction of his army-issued G3 military rifle as he was cleaning it.
The recoil that propels the bolt cycling back and forward between each shot had been damaged, but the firing condition of the rifle was not fully clarified
One of the gun experts during trial, who served with the defendant in the same unit, told the court that the gun involved in the fatal shooting was functioning properly in May 2019.
But a second gun expert, who examined the rifle one year later, immediately following the incident, reportedly told the court that the young man’s gun was broken.
Local media said details heard in court suggested the recoil that propels the bolt cycling back and forward between each shot had been damaged. Additional reports said the firing condition of the rifle was not fully clarified during the hearing.
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. Media reports also suggested there was friction in the family in the months leading up to the shooting, but police declined to comment on a specific past incident, citing ongoing investigation and trial.
Reports said their 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.
Police investigators who initially examined evidence in the case had reportedly told prosecutors they did not have enough evidence to build a murder case, citing lack of cooperation from a witness, later identified as the mother of both the shooter and the victim.
Legal experts said the mother's testimony would have been pivotal in the trial, as she was reportedly the only other person I'm the house at the time of the shooting.
But prosecutors, who filed involuntary manslaughter charges, have also charged the defendant with theft and malicious act, after reports emerged that he admitted cutting Maria’s front brakes.
A premeditated murder conviction would automatically carry a life sentence, while involuntary manslaughter carries anywhere between six months to life.
The defendant reportedly told police from the beginning of the investigation that he had no idea that the gun was loaded and maintained that his sister’s death was an accident.