Death of Czech judge remains unclarified
Speaking at a press conference in Ostrava today, police said they have not yet managed to clarify the death of 64-year-old Judge Miloslav Studnička of Ostrava, whose body was discovered yesterday. For the time being, three versions of what happened are being investigated, but detectives are tending toward a finding of either suicide or an unfortunate accident, even though they have not entirely ruled out the possibility that he was assaulted. The judge, who is perhaps best known for having handed down the final verdict against the Vítkov arsonists in 2010, lived alone with several dogs in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm (Nový Jičín district), where police found his body. It is reportedly very likely that the dogs mauled his corpse.
Dalimil Sypták, Deputy Director of the Moravian-Silesian Regional Police, said Studnička died as the result of a small neck wound which sliced open his jugular vein. "The autopsy did not find any signs of a fatal assault. He suffered from an injury to the jugular vein which bled slowly, followed by a heart attack and embolism. He died over the course of several minutes," Sypták said. It is not clear how Studnička came by the neck wound.
Police officers are continuing to investigate three different scenarios. The judge might have committed suicide for personal reasons. However, it is also possible the injury was an unfortunate accident, that the judge was unable to stop the bleeding, and that he lost consciousness. Detectives have confirmed that the wound was subsequently aggravated by the dogs who lived in the man's home. "The mauling took place after he was dead," Sypták explained. Detective Antonín Řezníček said the judge had suffered no other injuries.
Detectives have not yet ruled out murder, even though they consider it the least likely explanation, saying there are no indications of violent death. They are taking the same approach toward the possibility that the attack, should there have been one, was related to Studnička's performance as a judge. "There are no indications of that," Sypták said. Řezníček added that Studnička passed away between 10 and 24 hours prior to his body being discovered.
State prosecutor Vít Legerský, who is overseeing the investigation, told the press that police originally categorized the case as one of murder. "The body bore evident signs of violence and assault could not be ruled out," he said. However, further investigation shifted police opinion when the new evidence from the autopsy showed the situation in a different light.
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