Controversies Drag Bulgaria's 'Belneyski' Murder Case

Crime | February 16, 2011, Wednesday // 13:52|  views

Some evidence had cast strong shadow on the guilt of Lazar Kolev, (c) - the only defendant in the brutal murder case of two teenage sisters five years ago. Photo by DarikPlovdiv

The defense counsel in Bulgaria's high-profile "Belneyski" double murder case requested Wednesday a new expert DNA analyses of the material found under the nails of the victims.

Sisters Rositsa (18) and Kristina (15) Belneyski went missing in January 2006, after leaving a disco bar in the town of Pazardzhik. The sisters were found dead at the beginning of February near the town of Peshtera.

Lawyers, father and son Markovski, say they have strong suspicions of tempering with the evidence, and claim the investigation and the trial are biased, but the magistrates from the Pazardzhik Regional Court rejected the request.

The Court ruled to allow new witnesses take the stand – the shepherd who found the bodies (he was scheduled to be questioned Tuesday); Atanas - son of the of former Bulgarian Deputy Transport Minister, and current Member of the Parliament, Georgi Petarneychev; local businessman, Borislav Daskalov; Pazardzhik police officers and the former Mayor of the town of Peshtera, Atanas Stoilov, who, allegedly, made the videoclip of two girls dressed in ski outfits walking around the "St. Konstantin" site.

Markovski Sr., attorney for the only defendant in the case, Lazar Kolev, 30, says if the clip was made by a cell phone, it will have a date on it, and if the girls were at the site on a date different that January 28, 2006, the case must be dismissed.

The magistrates are to decide on an expert analysis of the video after questioning Stoilov.

The father of the defendant will be summoned as well.

The magistrates also ruled to have available the criminal record of the main witness of the prosecution, Vladimir Slavov, and allowed a video conference call with DNA experts from Austria and the UK, part of the team involved in the DNA analysis.

The Court rejected the defense request to call on the witness stand Nina Stamatova, who had told the investigators a pimp had revealed before her he knew the sisters. According to Markovski, prostitution rings and huge amounts of money are involved in the case.

On Tuesday, Ivan Ivanov, expert from Bulgaria's National Forensic Institute, who is the person conducting the DNA test, told the magistrates the probability of the DNA not being from Kolev is one to 48 trillions, and that biological traces of a third person were discovered on the girls' bodies.

The lie detectors' tests, according to experts from the Psychology Institute of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, have shown Kolev can be connected to the murders. They further believe the girls have not been raped and murdered at the "Gramadite" site near Peshtera, but were left there afterwards for the authorities to find them, and exclude the option all this has been done by one person.

Coroner, Maria Grozeva, who also took the witness stand, testified the girls were killed 20 hours before they were found on February 1, 2006. This information casts a serious shadow on Kolev's guilt since he has a rock-solid alibi for all days after January 28.

According to the prosecutor' charges, the girls died at the night of their disappearance, January 28th.

Kolev's mother has voiced her belief the perpetrator of the murders is Atanas Petarneychev.

The next sessions are scheduled for March 23 and 24, 2011.

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Tags: Lazar Kolev, Murder, Plovdiv, court, Pazardzhik, sisters, Belneyski, Gramadite, autopsy, coroner, Marin Markovski, DNA, DNA analysis, lie detector


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