NEWS

Trial over 2013 murder of pawn merchant starts in Athens

The trial over the April 2013 murder of a 30-year-old man running a family-owned pawn shop in the suburb of Dafni began on Monday with the four defendants admitting to their role in the death of Giorgos Kotsilidis and apologizing to his family.

Kotsilidis died of asphyxiation in his Dafni home in April last year after being bound to a chair and gagged with duct tape by a 25-year-old woman he had befriended on Facebook and three suspected accomplices. The assailants made off with 139,000 euros in cash and an unspecified quantity of gold, which they had allegedly learned were in the house after the woman baited her victim for information.

The trial in Athens began with the opening testimony of the victim's father, who discovered his son's lifeless body in the home shortly after the assault, Naftemboriki reported on Tuesday.

"I took a knife and cut the duct tape. It had been wrapped around his throat several times. He was already dead when we found him. The most terrible thing for a father is to have his son's murderers sitting right behind him," Giorgos Kotsilidis's father reportedly told the court. He added that he believes a man with whom his son had argued over money had tipped off the 25-year-old woman and encouraged her to befriend the victim.

Three men and the 25-year-old woman stand accused of the 30-year-old's murder and have pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, saying that it was not their intention to kill Giorgos Kotsilidis but to immobilize him.

The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday with their testimony.

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