NEWS

Passaris gets life for killings

BUCHAREST (AP) – A court found Greek fugitive Costas Passaris guilty yesterday of a double murder and sentenced him to life in prison. Passaris, 27, was arrested in November 2001 in Romania, a few days after he allegedly robbed a currency exchange office in downtown Bucharest, killing a cashier and a security guard. He has been Greece’s most wanted man since February 2001, when he escaped from a hospital after killing two police officers escorting him. Greece’s police chief resigned after an operation to capture him failed. [Police believe Passaris killed another two people in Greece.] Passaris denied the charges. He was convicted of premeditated murder. Prosecutors relied on DNA evidence, phone records, and the testimony of his accomplice, Mioara Roxana Badila. The court also sentenced Passaris to another 22 years for robbery, smuggling a gun into the country and entering Romania illegally. Badila was sentenced to one-and-a-half years for being an accessory to murder. Passaris can appeal the sentence within 10 days. He will be extradited to Greece upon completion of his appeals.