Yiannis Savvidis and Andreas Pofidis were sentenced twice to life in prison plus 66 years, while the third accomplice Giorgos Emerzidis, was acquitted for the 2011 murder of the two police officers, that took place in Rentis, Athens.
The Court of Appeal convicted the two men and acquitted Emerzidis; who was initially sentenced twice to life in prison as well. The acquittal for simply participating in a criminal organization without being involved in the murder, caused an outrage among the victims’ relatives, according to the Athens News Agency.
“What mitigating circumstances you’re talking about? They killed our boys! They are murderers, will you acquit them?” a relative shouted in court.
There was tension earlier as well, when the defendants’ lawyers demanded the recognition of mitigating circumstances. “It is an insult to the memory of the dead to grant them mitigating circumstances,” said the prosecutor, while at the hearing of the acquittal decision one of the defendants addressed the bench saying: “Shame on you! Don’t you feel any guilt?”
The two police officers, Ioannis Evangelinelis, 23, and Giorgos Skylogiannis, 22, of the motorcycle unit DIAS were shot to death after three people in a car opened fire on them at the Rentis fruit market on March 1, 2011.
The perpetrators had stopped the car in a dark place, and when the DIAS motorcycles approached, they came out of the vehicle, and started shooting at them with a Kalashnikov and pistols.
It all started when the owner of a kiosk in Menidi called the police and reported a robbery, giving the police officers the model and the plates number of the perpetrators’ car.
A moment later, four DIAS police officers on two motorcycles, spotted the car at Kifissos Avenue in Peristeri and followed it.
On a Kifissos side street near the Rentis fruit market, the driver of the stolen car suddenly stopped and the three men who were inside it began to shoot with a Kalashnikov and pistols against the police.
The four police officers received fire while still on their motorcycles. Two of them were shot in the head, one was shot in the stomach and the third on the knee. Evangelinelis and Skylogiannis almost immediately succumbed to their injuries.