Reduction of Korkoneas life sentence made on basis of new penal code
An appeals court in Lamia, central Greece, on Monday upheld the conviction of police special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas for the deadly shooting in December 2008 of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia but reduced the term from life to 13 years.
Korkoneas had been convicted to life in prison for shooting Grigoropoulos during a verbal altercation with the 15-year-old and a group of his friends as they were hanging out in the popular Athens neighborhood.
According to the case file, Korkoneas fired twice with his revolver in the direction of the group and one of the bullets rebounded off a cement structure and hit Grigoropoulos in the chest, killing him instantly.
His death sparked days of street riots and vandalism in Athens.
Monday's ruling was issued on the basis of the new legal code which came into effect on July 1.
According to reports, Korkoneas could request immediate release given that he has already served 11 years of his life sentence, in addition to the time he spent in prison pending his initial trial and conviction.
The attorney representing the Grigoropoulos family, Zoe Konstantopoulou, objected to the ruling, saying that it “will arm the hand of the next Korkoneas.”
In the first hearing of the appeal, which began in December 2016, Korkoneas appeared remorseless, telling the court in his opening statement that he was innocent, adding, “I will not apologize to any 15-year-old.”
However, he appeared more contrite at a later hearing.
“Sorrow, sadness and everything I feel cannot be expressed with words. I wish I could change everything,” he said.
The same court on Monday overturned the conviction of Vassilis Saraliotis, a colleague of Korkoneas who was with him during the incident.
The judges ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove that he was an accomplice in the killing.