Koumandareas murder suspect claims innocence, remanded

A 25-year-old Romanian national who has been implicated in the murder last month of acclaimed Greek novelist Menis Koumandareas, 83, was remanded in custody on Friday after denying murder charges leveled against him while a second suspect turned himself in to the authorities.

The 25-year-old, identified only as Stefan, shouted out, “I am innocent. I’ve done nothing. I loved that person,” while leaving the office of the investigating magistrate on Friday.

He reportedly admitted to going to Koumandareas’s apartment with Cosmin Gaitan, 29, to borrow some money but not with the goal of robbing and killing the writer.

He claimed to have known Koumandareas for nine years and to have regarded him as a father.

Earlier in the day, Gaitan handed himself in to police.

Koumandareas was found dead in his bed by a relative in the early hours of December 6.

He had been strangled.