24 August 2009, 10:16
Jury finds man guilty of killing Jesuit priest in Moscow
Moscow, August 24 Interfax - A jury at the Moscow City Court has found Mikhail Orekhov guilty of killing one of the two Jesuit priests who were found dead in a Moscow apartment in October 2008.
The jury found Orekhov guilty of killing Fr. Victor Betancourt, a priest from the Independent Russian Regional Society of Jesus, Moscow City Court spokesperson Anna Usachyova told Interfax.
Orekhov had been originally charged with committing both murders. The investigation insisted that Orekhov had also killed Fr. Otto Messmer, but the jury found Orekhov not guilty of this crime.
The jury also ruled that Orekhov did not deserve clemency.
"The investigation has determined that Orekhov decided to murder Betancourt while being intoxicated on the basis of a personal conflict, after the victim had tried to induce the Russian to commit a joint sex act," the Investigative Committee said earlier.
It said Orekhov had hit the priest on the head with a dumbbell at least 11 times.
The investigation believed that the purpose of the other murder was to conceal the previous one and that Orekhov killed Messmer when the latter returned from Germany to the apartment where Betancourt had been murdered.
"Orekhov introduced himself to Messmer as a friend of [Betancourt's], followed him into a room, and killed him the same way," the Committee said.
Orekhov was arrested on November 6, 2008.
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