Czech gunman who murdered Romani man in his own vehicle will serve 10 years
Petr Benda, the 38-year-old man who shot dead the driver of a van that hit another car on a housing estate in Chomutov, will serve 10 years in prison for his crime. The High Court in Prague handed down the final verdict on 25 June, shortening the first-instance verdict handed down in April of last year.
This was the second time the appeals panel of judges had reviewed the case. Last year they reduced Benda's punishment from 12.5 years to seven, which is below the lawfully-established minimum length of a sentence for such a crime.
The judges had taken into account Benda's clean criminal record prior to the event, as well as what they called "a certain share of the blame resting with the injured party". That verdict, however, was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court after Supreme State Prosecutor Pavel Zeman appealed.
Zeman argued that the reasons given by the court for such an extraordinary reduction in the punishment were not enough. "Given the attenuating circumstances that obtain, it was appropriate to hand down the minimum punishment prescribed by law," presiding Judge Martin Zelenka said on 25 June.
Such a punishment had been handed down by the first-instance court, which convicted Benda of premeditated murder. The High Court, however, assessed the crime as one of simple murder, which carries a lesser sentence.
Benda, according to his attorney, had anticipated an increase to the sentence because he was familiar with the Supreme Court's decision. He is considering whether to take any further legal action.
"I was not interested in harming anybody," the convicted murderer reiterated on 25 June to the court. He also said he would like to return to the Litoměřice prison to serve his sentence, with which he is familiar and where he even used to work.
The incident happened on 27 May 2017 at around 3 AM near a block of prefabricated apartment buildings. Benda was erroneously informed by his mother that somebody was driving a vehicle into other cars and probably into people.
In fact the driver had only hit one other automobile during his attempt to leave the housing estate. Benda looked out of his window and saw a silver van driving past.
He loaded his legally-licensed firearm and ran out in front of the building where, without warning, he fired the entire magazine into the driver's cabin. Eight of the 13 rounds fired hit the man behind the steering wheel in the abdomen, the back and elsewhere.
The victim died as a consequence of the serious injuries he sustained. He was a Romani man, but the court said the murder did not have a racial subtext.
- Czech gunman convicted of shooting Romani man moved from prison to temporary custody pending appeal
- Czech Supreme Court to review verdict in shooting murder of Romani man in Chomutov
- Czech Police indict bodybuilder who praised shooting of Romani man and made his own death threats
- VIDEO: First-instance verdict in the Chomutov shooting case - 12.5 years
- Czech court releases murder suspect from custody now that all witnesses to shooting of Romani man have been questioned
- Analysis: Czech Police say situation after Chomutov shooting not tense, locals say otherwise
- Commentary on shooting of Romani man in Chomutov: How many more murder victims before the state learns how to respond?
- Czech Republic: Non-Romani man shouts racial abuse at 34-year-old Romani man before shooting him dead
- Czech cardiologist: Drug users have broken health, breathing problems introduced during an arrest can have tragic results
- Czech appeals court exceptionally reduces sentence for social media user who approved of Christchurch massacre, notes current law is imbalanced
- After European Court of Human Rights ruling, Slovak court acquits yet another Romani victim wrongfully indicted for reporting a brutal police attack
- The ruling that took 15 years: Czech town ordered to compensate some of the Romani residents whom it evicted and relocated
- Czech court hands down sentencing in pool brawl case, one Romani man acquitted for having attempted to stop the altercation
- Czech court sentences brutal, racially-motivated assailant who attacked Romani man in front of children to 7.5 years in prison
- Czech footballer appeals UEFA ban, insists he never said anything racist
- Czech court gives suspended sentence to attacker who threatened to kill Romani women and their children with an ax
- Belgium: Man who posted racist death threat about Black TV host sentenced to prison time and a fine
- Czech court orders director of housing corporation to apologize to Romani community member for abusive remarks
- Czech bodybuilder's fine upheld for approving of Romani man's murder, he says he will appeal again
- Czech court sentences man who praised deadly terrorist attack on New Zealand mosques to six years in prison, the longest such sentence yet