Sentence reduced for one Vítkov arsonist, other sentences upheld
Today the High Court in Olomouc reduced the sentence handed down to defendant Ivo Müller for the 2009 commission of an arson attack on a Roma home in Vítkov from 22 to 20 years. The extraordinary sentences previously handed down by the Ostrava Regional Court of between 20 and 22 years for the other three extremists involved in the arson were upheld on appeal.
David Vaculík and Jaromír Lukeš byli were sentenced to 22 years in prison, while Václav Cojocaru received a 20-year sentence. All four defendants were sentenced for multiple counts of racially motivated attempted murder and for destruction of property.
The young men had asked the appeals court return to the case back to the regional level so new evidence could be introduced. They appealed for lower sentences and a reduction in the legal qualification of their crime to that of reckless endangerment. They defended themselves by saying they had not known the house was occupied, that they had not traveled to Vítkov to murder anyone, and that murderous intent had not been proven. According to the state prosecutor, however, there was sufficient evidence for them to be convicted of multiple counts of racially motivated attempted murder.
The prosecution charged the four with attacking the home, occupied by a nine-member Roma family, in the early morning hours of 19 April 2009 by throwing Molotov cocktails through the windows. The house caught fire immediately. Three people were injured, the most serious of them Natálie, who was not yet two years old at the time. She suffered burns over 80 % of her body and subsequently lost three fingers.
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