Security Boosted At Hadjicostis Murder Trial
There was heavier-than-usual security at the Andy Hadjicostis murder trial in Nicosia as witness George Christodoulou Zavrantonas continued his testimony today.
All the trial's attendees were frisked by police as they entered the court, said our correspondent at the scene.
During the hearing, Zavrantonas said that protected witness Fanos Hadjigeorgiou and defendant Gregoris Xenophontos watched Andy Hadjicostis' movements for several days before his brutal murder. They were looking for their chance to kill him, he said. Zavrantonas said that defendant Andreas Gregoriou confided that Hadjicostis was lucky and escaped the contract killers many times.
Zavrantona said he was offered the 50,000-euro contract to kill Hadjicostis, but turned it down. In December 2009, defendant Gregoriou said he would find someone else to do the job since he wasn't interested. But Zavrantonas tried to find out more details, he said, even discussing the murder weapon in detail and suggesting a hunting gun.
The witness is currently serving 12 years for conspiracy to murder, and during cross examination, admitted that he charged 25,000-50,000 euros for contract killings. In a bizarre development, Zavrantonas has been nicknamed 'Angel Face' by onlookers at the court.
In jail since trial began
Four people are on trial for Hadjicostis' murder; Tassos Krassopoulis; his sister and ex-Sigma TV presenter Elena Skordelli; Andreas Gregoriou; and Gregoris Xenophontos. All four have pleaded not guilty to the January 11th killing in which Hadjicostis was shot twice in the chest as he was getting out of his car to go to his Nicosia home.
The prosecution alleges that Skordelli was angry at Hadjicostis for edging her out of her job as a presenter at Sigma TV, particularly since she is a 21 percent shareholder in the station. She and her brother planned the killing to get rid of Hadjicostis and take over Sigma TV themselves, says the prosecution. The prosecution's case is largely based on a full confession by suspect Fanos Hadjigeorgiou, who has been put in the witness protection programme and will not stand trial.
Skordelli, Krassopoulis, Xenophontos and Gregoriou have been held in jail since the beginning of the trial.