Man gets death sentence in murder retrial
11:02, — crime
A Homyel man whose death sentence for brutally murdering a young woman was overturned by the Supreme Court of Belarus this past October was sentenced to death a second time on December 24.
A panel of judges at the Homyel Regional Court ruled that Alyaksandr Hrunow should be executed for the murder of 22-year-old Natallya Yemyalyanchykava.
The 25-year-old Hrunow was sentenced to death by a judge of the Homyel Regional Court in June, but the Supreme Court annulled the sentence and remanded the case to the trial court for retrial.
During the first trial, Mr. Hrunow admitted that he had killed Ms. Yemyalyanchykava, a fourth-year student of the biology department of Homyel State University, near her home at about midnight on September 19, 2012. He stabbed the victim 102 times in the head, neck, chest, arms and legs with a knife.
He said that the girl had insulted him during a party in June or July 2012, but he did not say what the insult was. According to him, on September 19, he accidentally met her while traveling on a city bus with his girlfriend. He got out of the bus one stop before her stop, ran to her apartment building and killed her when she approached him.
Neighbors heard her screams and called the police, but it was too late to save the young woman. She died from massive blood loss. The man was arrested the following day.
The public prosecutor in the retrial said that Mr. Hrunow had committed an appallingly cruel crime and was dangerous to society. There were many aggravating circumstances in the case and no mitigating circumstances, she said, adding that Mr. Hrunow's plea of guilty could not be viewed as a mitigating circumstance.
The mother of the victim demanded that the accused be sentenced to death. "He has no mercy and shows no repentance. How can he be considered a human being?" she said.
She also quoted Alyaksandr Lukashenka's statement on the case. “If you are a scoundrel and rascal, and have committed yet another crime, killed a person, you have no right to live in this world,” the Belarusian leader said while meeting with Prosecutor General Alyaksandr Kanyuk on November 14. “I am not bloodthirsty, but the punishment and retribution should be adequate. Please keep an eye on the case. Otherwise we will never be able to put things to rights and lower the social temperature. Those who have committed grave and especially grave crimes should be punished in the severest way possible!”
Mr. Hrunow's defense lawyer pointed out that the young man's plea of guilty could be viewed as a mitigating circumstance, and that the prosecution’s case was based solely on his confessions.
In his final speech, the accused asked the victim’s mother to forgive him and said that he "does not know how it happened."
Mr. Hrunow committed the crime one year after he completed a prison sentence for inflicting grievous bodily harm to his stepfather, which resulted in his death.
A psychiatric evaluation found that Mr. Hrunow was “adequate” but had a mixed personality disorder. He was also found to have no drug or alcohol addiction.
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