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18 June, 2024
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Sentence in Strovolos double murder on hold

Court to announce sentence next week due to brothers having to attend their grandmother’s funeral


A criminal court in Nicosia has sentenced Lefteris Solomou, the half-brother of his co-defendant in the Strovolos double murder, but details were left out due to a scheduled funeral on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this month, Solomou, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and assault charges, admitting conspiracy to commit a felony during the home burglary of a slain couple last year in Strovolos, Nicosia. He also admitted assault charges in robbing the male victim while in possession of dangerous weapons.

Childhood references of the two brothers

Solomou’s defence attorney, Miranda Angelidou, told the court prior to sentencing that her client was “mentally exhausted” in trying to prove he did not commit murder. She also said her client had been under the influence of the main defendant, who was jealous of his brother over motherly affection, and that he cooperated with police during the investigation.

“They asked him to join the plan late at night on (April) the 18th, and he told them no, but then Tzionis exerted his influence over Solomou and my client was assigned the menial task of collecting the loot, despite his repeated refusal to go to the residence on Zalongou street,” the attorney said.

Last week, prosecutors hinted at calling Solomou as a prosecution witness, but this was not immediately confirmed by lead prosecutor Polina Efhtyvoulou, who said this would be determined in the course of the trial.

But on Wednesday, prior to the fact finding portion of Solomou’s sentencing hearing, the defence attorneys for Tzionis and a third defendant, Marios Hadjixenofondos who is also facing multiple charges in the case, argued there was a sentencing disparity in the trial, arguing that Solomou’s fact finding hearing could adversely impact the fairness of the trial for their own clients.

Solomou’s defence attorney told the court prior to sentencing that her client was 'mentally exhausted' in trying to prove he did not commit murder

Tzionis’ attorney, Andreas Anastasiou, asked the court to defer the sentencing to another court with a different composition of judges on the panel, but this was not feasible according to what was heard in the courtroom.

The prosecutor then said that the panel of judges consisted of professionals who knew how to differentiate facts from evidence regarding mitigating factors that ought to be argued or otherwise debated. It is understood that the assault charges were written in a specific way that relate to the “assault on the victim in order to gain possession of stolen property,” such as a pair of glasses and a wallet belonging to the male victim.

Following a brief recess, the criminal court rejected the notion of an alleged sentencing disparity, with the judges citing a legitimate outcome in an unrelated case. The panel then moved forward with sentencing facts for Solomou, who could possibly turn into a witness for the prosecution.

All other charges dropped for Solomou

The prosecution suspended all other charges against Solomou, including premeditated murder, while he is expected to testify against his half-brother, primary defendant Loizos Tzionis, who is facing premeditated charges in the double murder of 60-year-old Yiorgos Hadjigeorgiou and his 59-year-old wife Dina Sergiou in their home, the bodies of whom were savagely stabbed to death in their own house on 18 April 2018.

Tzionis has already pleaded guilty to burglary and kidnapping charges while he denies murder charges.

The court handed down a sentence which was to be given out in a written statement due to lack of time. It was stated earlier that Tzionis’ grandmother, the woman who raised him since he was a baby, had passed away and both brothers would be attending her funeral in the afternoon.

Finally, the judges said they would announce the sentence next week on July 31.

Cyprus  |  Nicosia  |  Strovolos  |  double murder  |  Zalongou  |  crime  |  burglary  |  Shams  |  Siams  |  Solomou  |  Tzionis  |  court

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