Lifer cleared of deadly car theft

A man who was found guilty of murder while stealing his ostensible victim’s car four years ago had his double life sentence overturned yesterday by a narrow majority in an Athens appeal court. The seven-judge panel voted four to three in favor of releasing 37-year-old Yiannis Milonas after accepting evidence proving he was in his native Lesvos on February 5, 2001 – the day of the murder. Doctors from the island testified that they had treated him for traffic accident injuries. Milonas had previously been found guilty of killing 52-year-old Yiannis Skolarikos, the manager of OTE telecom in Palaio Faliron, largely on the strength of an eyewitness account. The witness claimed he saw Skolarikos stop to buy cigarettes from a kiosk while leaving his car running, which Milonas then tried to steal before shooting the victim as he attempted to stop him. Milonas was arrested in 2002 but always pleaded his innocence of the alleged murder. The victim’s family said they would now take the case to the Supreme Court.