Man didn't kill friend but did dump body: court
Published: 18 Jun 12 15:57 CET
A 28-year-old man sentenced to 12 years in prison in April for murdering his best friend has had his conviction overturned on appeal, but was nevertheless found guilty of having thrown the victim's body in a sewer.
In April, the man was convicted of murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Blekinge District Court for killing his best friend and dumping the body in a sewer.
On Monday, however, the man was acquitted of the murder charge by a Malmö appeals court.
However, the court nevertheless found him guilty of disturbing the peace of the dead and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
“The reasoning behind the verdict of disturbing the peace of the dead is because he is said to have transported the body in his car, among other things, but there were no traces of this,” said Christer Holmqvist, the man’s lawyer, to the TT news agency.
After the victim’s death in August last year, there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of evidence against the 28-year-old.
He confessed to the murder in letters to his family, had kept personal notes of the killing, and had even searched the internet for murder penalties.
During his district court trial, however, the man retracted his confession.
According to the man’s lawyer, there was “a lack of evidence” in the case, an assessment shared by the appeals court, which duly overturned the murder conviction.
The court found that the 28-year-old's description of the killing was "patently weak and lacking in detail". There was no other evidence implicating the 28-year-old in the killing, aside from a letter to his parents explaining that he had taken someone's life.
However, the court found the 28-year-old description of how he moved the dead body to be detailed and substantial and that, combined with the other circumstances lead it to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the 28-year-old had moved the body of his dead 23-year-old friend.
Despite the drastic reduction in prison time, the 28-year-old was nevertheless disappointed with the ruling, having expected to be freed of all charges.
“He has a truly special personality,” said Holmqvist.
“He is easily influenced. It is also clear from the psychiatric exam that he is easily influenced when he feels pressured. This may be, in other words, an explanation as to why he confessed to being guilty.”
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