Detectives investigating the killing of a long-time convict in western Athens on Wednesday evening believe it was a professional assassination, most likely linked to the victim’s criminal activities.
According to the ANA-MPA news agency, the operation to gun down 57-year-old Vassilis Stefanakos near his place of business in the suburb of Haidari was orchestrated in great detail and involved at least three people: a lookout, the gunman and the man driving the stolen motorcycle that ambushed Stefanakos’s car.
Preliminary investigations have shown that the gunman fired more than 29 rounds from a Kalashnikov assault rifle he carried in a guitar case after ambushing Stefanakos near the victim's used car lot. The gunman and his driver were likely tipped off by an accomplice watching the victim’s movements, possibly from a nearby building, police sources told the ANA-MPA, while the motorcycle they were riding had been stolen from the eastern Athenian suburb of Ilioupoli on December 4.
Stefanakos was released from prison in August 2016 after serving eight years in accordance with an early release law passed in 2015. He had been sentenced to 21 years and three months for his involvement in a murder committed by Alket Rizai in 2006 as well as assisting in the helicopter escape of Rizai and fellow convict Vassilis Palaiocostas from Korydallos Prison in 2009. He was additionally serving a 14-year sentence for his involvement in other criminal activities, including protection racket.
Stefanakos is also believed to have forged ties with convicted members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire guerilla group while in prison and was alleged to have attacked former defense minister Akis Tscochatzopoulos while they were both serving time in Korydallos Prison.