In January, 57-year-old Dariusz K. was convicted of complicity in the murder in Hajnówka (Podlasie) in 1996. The victim was a 73-year-old woman. In May, the appellate court upheld the sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment. However, the man’s defense did not agree with the decision. A cassation appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court. This one just dismissed her.
The crime took place on April 6, 1996. The victim was a 73-year-old resident of Hajnówka who was attacked, beaten and strangled in her own home. Her daughter found her body tied with cables.
From the very beginning, the police suspected a robbery motive. The perpetrators (the investigators assume that it was not one person) assumed that the woman had a lot of money in her house. The proceedings in the case were discontinued after a few months.
The suspect was arrested in December 2019
It was not until 2019 that the investigation was resumed by the policemen from the X Archives in Podlasie, i.e. the team dealing with unresolved cases. Together with the officers of the district headquarters in Hajnówka, they again analyzed the collected evidence, collected new ones and checked the traces secured at the crime scene.
At the end of December 2019, 57-year-old Dariusz K., who lived in Hajnówka in 1996, and before his arrest, was a resident of Wasilków near Bialystok, was arrested. Already in 1996, he was in the circle of suspicion, because a bottle of perfume had been found in his apartment. The same as the one that was stolen from the killed 73-year-old girl.
The court assumed that the crime had a robbery motive
According to the prosecutor’s office, the course of events could have been such that the perpetrators wanted to rob the apartment while the owner was absent. However, she returned home and found the thieves. It is possible that she knew one of them and was murdered for this reason.
The first-instance court agreed with the prosecution’s assessment that the crime had a robbery motive. He assumed that the perpetrators acted with the intention of a possible murder, which means that although they did not assume it in advance, they agreed that it could happen. The prosecutor’s office demanded 25 years’ imprisonment.
Mitigating circumstance – no criminal record and a stable life situation
However, the court found one mitigating circumstance – the defendant’s previous clean criminal record and his stable life situation. And he sentenced Dariusz K. for 15 years’ imprisonment for complicity in murder and robbery. The man was also supposed to pay 30,000 zlotys in interest to the daughter and granddaughter of the deceased, according to the court decision.
Appeals were filed against the judgment. The public prosecutor asked for 25 years in prison, while the defense – which questioned, inter alia, probative value of DNA testing – she wanted an acquittal.
Judgment: unbelievable alibi
In May, however, the Bialystok Court of Appeal upheld the previous judgment. Judge Andrzej Czapka admitted in the verbal justification of the judgment that the case was circumstantial. These indications – as the judge said – form an unbreakable chain that leads to one conclusion – that the accused is an accomplice of this crime.
The court pointed to DNA testing, while ruling out – as the defense cited – that it could not be a direct trace, but the so-called secondary transfer of a genetic trace, i.e. that it was transferred to the dress of the deceased by another person. He also found the defendant’s alibi, who would have been in a completely different place at the time of the crime, unbelievable.
Perfume bottle – important proof
The appellate court also recognized the perfume bottle as significant evidence.
– It is difficult to accept as true the thesis that the murderer is planting such important and important material evidence to a third party, thus exposing himself to detection – Judge Czapka justified.
He said that these circumstantial evidence already had a high probative value, but it was supplemented with others that made it possible to close the chain of evidence. He mentioned osmological tests, polygraph (i.e. a lie detector test) and an opinion in the field of forensic profiling.
Referring to the prosecutor’s request, judge Czapka noted that 25 years and life imprisonment are “special” penalties of an elimination nature. He argued that over the years the man changed his lifestyle, started a family and functioned properly, and he was not punished.
– The change in the nature of his life that took place after this event gives hope that after a long stay in a prison, he will function without conflicts in society and will not come into conflict with the law any more – justified.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal
Defense lawyer Dariusz K. appealed against the verdict to the Supreme Court.
However, the court found it unfounded. However, he released the convict from the costs of the cassation proceedings.
The crime took place in 1996 in Hajnówka
Main photo source: Podlasie police