Loizos Tzionis only admitted to the brutal murder of a teacher and his wife in Strovolos in April because he was suffering from substance deprivation, his lawyer told the Nicosia Criminal Court on Wednesday.
He was speaking during a trial on the murder of Yiorgos Hadjigeorgiou and Dina Sergiou who were found stabbed to death in their home, in what police believe was a botched robbery.
Tzionis and three other defendants — Lefteris Solomou, Sarah Siance and Marios Hadjixenophontos have all pleaded not guilty to seven charges including premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and kidnap.
The trial continues on Friday.
On Wednesday, the court began a trial within a trial to hear objections from Tzonis’ lawyer regarding the statements Tzionis had made to police, the crime scenes he had showed them and the taking of evidence from a house in Aglandjia.
The defence lawyer said his client’s rights had been violated and that he had been pressured to sign the relevant documents as regards his rights, as well as his statement, because he was suffering from substance deprivation.
What his client had admitted to was hearsay, the lawyer said. Moreover Tzionis had not understood what he was signing and the police was pressing him to sign so as “to finish, move on and everything will be fine.”
The lawyer also argued that no warrant had been issued to search the house in Aglandjia and that his client had not been cautioned before he took them to the crime scenes that they would be investigating a case of premeditated murder.
The first witness for the prosecution in the trial within the trial was sergeant Savvas Siamoutis who gave a detailed account of what Tzionis had told investigators. He said Tzionis had been informed of his rights and had signed documentation that he understood them.
The suspect did not want a lawyer and that he was calm, polite and cooperative during questioning, Siamoutis added. He had not asked for medical care and that he had been examined by a psychiatrist the previous day. The only thing he asked for was vitamins which he was taking for problems with his back which were supplied to him.
Siamoutis said that Tzionis had first implicated the brothers Andreas and Elias Charalambous in the murder saying they had asked him to suggest a place for them to burgle. They had threatened him with a gun, obliging him to give information about the couple in Strovolos.
Later, Tzionis changed this and said Marios Hadjixenophontos had murdered the teacher and his wife. He later again changed his story, pinning the murder on his half-brother Lefteris Solomou.