Prosecutor Contradicts Police in Bulgaria's Pernik Teen Murder

Crime | January 17, 2012, Tuesday // 13:44|  views

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister, and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, signed an order to launch disciplinary proceeding against the Head of the Pernik Anti-mafia Unit over his actions in a teen murder case. Photo by BGNES

The Regional Prosecutor in the Bulgarian western city of Pernik, near the capital Sofia, Plamen Naydenov, rejected reports that he had been present during the search of the apartment of a suspect, who committed suicide in the presence of police.

The Bulgarian "Capital" weekly had finally managed to reach the Prosecutor, who so far had declined to speak in public. The information he had provided, however, stirred even more confusion about the actions of the police.

After his arrest in the murder of Miroslava Nikolova, 17, also from Pernik, Stoycho Stoev AKA Chocho, was brought home by the police. As the latter searched the apartment, he, as he was in handcuffs, according to the police, got hold of a pistol and shot himself in the head. Amidst numerous reports about botched police work, and a number of theories as to what happened, it remains unclear where the suspect was hiding the gun and how the policemen let him kill himself in their presence.

According to several controversial accounts, Chocho had the gun hidden in the bathroom, then in a closet, and some media even claimed that he took a pistol out of the holster of one of the five policemen. Meanwhile, the largest private TV channel bTV reported that the man had taken the gun out of his personal safety vault. bTV further informed that he managed to access the gun, which he legally owned, because there was no electric power inside the apartment and instead of watching him, the police were busy trying to restore it.

The Prosecutor, cited by "Capital," denied being present in person, but explained that an investigator and several police officers were inside the apartment. He said that there was also a security system and the suspect had to turn if off by cutting the cable himself – a statement that casts new doubt that Chocho had been handcuffed. No eyewitness so far has been able to confirm the story about the handcuffs.

Naydenov explained that there was electric power inside the apartment, but no lamps, and this is why the place was dark. He collaborated with the lead that the man went to the bathroom, where he shot himself. The intended search of the place never materialized since it was halted by the suicide incident.

The Prosecutor further informed that the suspect had been interrogated twice and had to take the police twice to the location where the body was buried, because the first time was in the evening and he got disoriented. He further contradicted reports Chocho owned the gun legally, saying the ownership is still being established, including the theory that it belonged to one of the policemen at the scene, citing pending tests.

Regarding claims of the sister of the murdered girl that she received a phone call from Miroslava, immediately after she went missing, where the latter told her she has been kidnapped and policemen were involved, Naydenov pointed out that the authorities are working on all leads, but declined confirming if such conversation had, indeed, happened, over the ongoing investigation.

He also commented on statements of the Head of the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, GDBOP, Stanimir Florov, that Stoev was promised to become a protected witness by saying the following;

"The Penal Code is clear who has what authority and who presses charges – it is the Prosecutor's Office. It is pointless to even discuss what status could be offered to Stoev since he is no longer alive, but as a principle, possible collaboration with the investigation is decided on much later in the proceedings."

Naydenov further stressed that the legally mandated deadline for his office in such cases is two months and everyone was working hard to adhere to it. He pointed out he understood the expectations of the public and the media, but clarified this was a serious case, requiring lots of effort.

The teenager disappeared on November 7, 2011. Her body was discovered last week.

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Tags: Regional Prosecutor, Plamen Naydenov, Miroslava Nikolova, dead, Murder, missing, Pernik, murder case, police, Pernik, The Rabbit, GDBOP, Stanimir Florov, suicide, Stoycho Stoev, protected witness


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