Convicted Murder of Bulgarian Teenage Girl Revokes Guilty Plea

Crime | June 25, 2013, Tuesday // 12:29|  views

Lyubenov argued that a guilty plea had to include a detailed account of the crime which he was unable to provide. Photo by BGNES

The sole defendant convicted of the murder of a 17-year old Bulgarian girl revoked his earlier confessions, claiming he neither knew her, nor kidnapped and killed her.

Two weeks after being sentenced to 25 years in prison for the gruesome murder of Miroslava Nikolova, from the southwestern Bulgarian town of Pernik, Mario Lyubenov spoke for the first time to private TV channel Nova TV.

"I do not feel good about admitting to such a thing. I can clarify my motives for doing so – when one knows the outcome of a trial, they prefer to make such a decision and alleviate their condition. Confession is too strong a word for this. I just stood before the judge panel and said that I acknowledge all circumstances listed in the indictment," he stated, trying to explain why he had pleaded guilty.

Lyubenov argued that a guilty plea had to include a detailed account of the crime which he was unable to provide.

"I just do not know what happened. I have never met Miroslava," he stated.

On June 12, two days after requesting fast-track proceedings, Lybenov was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment by the Pernik District Court.

He was also sentenced to pay a total of BGN 300 000 to both parents of the murdered girl.

Miroslava Nikolova was kidnapped on November 7, 2011 for a ransom which was never received.

Her dead body was discovered 3 months later, on January 12, 2012, on the territory of the village of Planinitsa, Pernik municipality.

One of the suspects, Stoycho Stoev, who took the police to the location where the dead body was found, committed suicide.

Stoev shot himself before the eyes of highly-trained police officers after he got hold of a gun during the search of his apartment.

Mario Lyubenov was arrested after the girl's dead body was discovered and was kept in custody.

He was identified by Stoev as the murderer of the girl.

Lybenov was arrested on Stoev's testimony, shortly before Stoev shot himself.

According to the prosecuting authority, the two had been planning the murder five months in advance, with no intentions to hide Miroslava somewhere while waiting for the money, but to kill her.

Little after kidnapping the girl, the two requested a ransom from her family, seeking to lay hands on the money of Borislav Cholev, fianc? of Miroslava's sister, Eleonora.

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Tags: Miroslava Nikolova, Pernik, Murder, Pernik, kidnapped, ransom


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