Jan Kuciak's killer gets 23 years
The murderer of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kušnírová was sentenced to 23 years in prison today.
Miroslav Marček pled guilty at the start of the trial to shooting the couple in their home in February 2018. The verdict is not final. The prosecutor, who sought a stricter punishment, is appealing the sentence to the Supreme Court.
Marček received a reduced sentence of 23 years. He was facing 25 years to life in prison. The court justified the lighter sentence saying the defendants’ confession helped law enforcement.
37-year-old Marcek is the second of five accused to be sentenced. Last year, Zoltán Andruskó, who hired Marcek to murder Kuciak, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The court ordered Marček to pay damages to Kuciak’s parents EUR 140,000 and Kušnírová’s mother EUR 70,000.
Due to Marcek’s guilty plea, the trial was limited to evidence for determining his sentence. In January, Marček pleaded guilty not only to the murders of Kuciak and Kušnírová but also to the 2016 murder of businessman Peter Molnar. Molnar’s murder became part of the indictment in Kuciak’s case.
The prosecutor sought a sentence of 25 years in prison for Marček. The defense, on the other hand, suggested a reduction of the sentence. Kušnírová’s mother’s lawyer argued that Mareček should be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Slovak media reported Marcek’s testimony contradicted the evidence. Police initially identified Marček’s cousin and Tomáš Szabó as the murderers. Marček testified that former policeman Szabó was the getaway driver in the murders of Kuciak and Molnar.
Marcek’s trial took place under strict security measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only three Slovak media outlets were in attendance.
The indictment says Marian Kočner ordered Kuciak killed for writing about his criminal activities. Alena Zsuzsova arranged the murder with Andruskó, who hired Szabo, who worked with Marček. Kočner, Szabó, and Zsuzs claim they are innocent. Their trial will start next week.