An ex-special police guard had his intentional homicide jail term reduced to a mere 13 years on Monday, immediately after the same mixed jurist-juror appellate court in the central city of Lamia unanimously upheld his first instance conviction for gunning down a 16-year-old Athens teen in December 2008.
The decision means that Epamidondas Korkoneas is now eligible for parole, with critics of the previous leftist Tsipras government angrily blaming last-minute revisions last month by the latter as allowing for the prospect of early release of dangerous felons, such as defendants convicted of intentional homicide.
The 13-year sentence, downgraded from a previous life in prison term, resulted, among others, from the court acknowledging the defendant’s previous “clean record” as a mitigating circumstance.
The new sentence generated heated objections and condemnation on the part of attorneys representing the victim’s family members, with former Parliament president Zoe Konstantopoulou, a trial attorney, promising recourse to the Supreme Court to rescind the lower sentence.
Korkoneas admitted to aiming and firing a single round on the evening of Dec. 6, 2008 during a controversial patrol in the central Athens district of Exarchia. The victim, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was hit in the chest by the round and died at the scene.
The incident sparked wide-spread demonstrations, and even violent rioting, in central Athens and other cities.
In later comments, the outspoken Konstantinopoulou charged what she called judicial "manipulation", beginning on June 19, 2019, namely, 12 days before the new penal code in the country took effect. At the time, she said, the defendant's defense team presented a physician's diagnosis, which asserted that the latter was not fit to attend the trial on a specific date. Konstantinopoulou claims that no free court date was then found until June 30, the day before the new - and more lenient - penal code took effect.
"The murder of a child remains essentially unpunished, a half-served punishment. The lesson here is that a child's life is worth 13 years for a police officer," she stressed.