Defendants to take the stand in Zak Kostopoulos killing trial
Six people accused in the beating death of a gay rights activist during an altercation in a jewelry shop in downtown Athens on September 21, 2018, are due to start testifying on Tuesday, in what is the 13th session of a trial that began last November.
The first two defendants to take the stand are the owner of the jewelry store and the owner of a nearby real estate office who set upon 33-year-old Zak Kostopoulos when he entered the jewelry shop for reasons that have yet to emerge.
More people in the vicinity joined the fray – as seen in security camera and cellphone footage from the incident – after Kostopoulos smashed his way through a display window to get out of the store and away from his assailants, falling onto the sidewalk outside, where he was seen being repeatedly kicked and punched until a group of nine police officers arrived at the scene.
According to the prosecutor, the officers used undue force during his arrest. Kostopoulos died shortly after while in police custody.
In their initial depositions, the two shopkeepers claimed that they thought Kostopoulos was trying to rob the store and felt it necessary to subdue him until the police arrived.
According to a coroner’s report, Kostopoulos died of heart failure that was likely induced by the trauma of multiple injuries.