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Jury finds Muscovite guilty of Jesuit priest's murder

© RIA Novosti . Ruslan Krivobok / Go to the photo bankPreliminary hearing in the case of Mikhail Orekhov
Preliminary hearing in the case of Mikhail Orekhov - Sputnik International
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A jury has found a Moscow resident guilty of murdering one of two Jesuit priests who died in October last year

MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - A jury has found a Moscow resident guilty of murdering one of two Jesuit priests who died in October last year, the Moscow City Court's press officer said on Friday.

The two priests were found dead in a flat in central Moscow with multiple head injuries.

"The jury said investigators had proven Mikhail Orekhov's involvement in the killing of the priest Victor Betancourt. But they acquitted Orekhov of the murder of Otto Messmer," Anna Usachyova said.

Media reports earlier said Orekhov, 39, had killed Messmer, former head of the Russian Independent Region of the Society of Jesus, while under the influence of alcohol, motivated by personal hatred. He was reported to have murdered Betancourt, a Colombian priest who arrived later, to cover the first killing.

Orekhov, 39, pleaded not guilty on Monday, when the trial began.

The court will gather next Monday to discuss the jury's verdict, prosecutors will propose a sentence, and the suspect and his defense address the court, which will then schedule a date for announcing a final verdict.

 

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