Greek Sailor Convicted of Murder
DRAMA, Greece (AP) _ A Greek sailor was convicted Monday of strangling and mutilating his American girlfriend and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
George Skiadopoulos was found guilty of premeditated murder in the Jan. 8 killing of 31-year-old former model Julie Scully of Mansfield, N.J., and of burning and beheading her body.
A panel of three judges and four jurors also found Skiadopoulos guilty of perjury and giving false testimony in a written deposition.
Skiadopoulos had confessed to the murder and told the court he killed Ms. Scully after she said she wanted to leave him.
In closing arguments, defense lawyer Sakis Kehagioglou said Skiadopoulos acted out of ``jealous rage″ and had not planned the killing near the northern Greek city of Kavala.
The court did not take the defense appeals into account, saying the 25-year-old was in a ``calm and collected state″ at the time.
Skiadopoulos was sentenced to the maximum of life imprisonment for the murder, and an additional five years on the other charges. Greek courts regularly pass sentence on the same day they convict. Skiadopoulos appealed immediately afterward.
Skiadopoulos sat silently with his head bowed as Judge Panayota Mandikou read the sentence. He refused to comment as he was taken to a police van.
Earlier, he covered his ears as a lawyer for Ms. Scully’s family made a closing statement to the court, outlining the way Skiadopoulos killed his girlfriend.
``The average person can’t live with someone like this walking among them,″ said lawyer Petros Spentzopoulos.
The court in Drama, 90 miles northeast of the port of Thessaloniki, rejected arguments that Skiadopoulos could be mentally unstable, and said he did not need further psychiatric evaluation.
A cruise ship petty officer, Skiadopoulos met Ms. Scully on a Caribbean voyage in 1997. She moved to Greece in December 1998 and left her then 3-year-old daughter with her former husband, Timothy Nist.
Nist, who attended the early sessions of the trial but returned to his Mansfield home over the weekend, said Monday that he had expected Skiadopoulos to be convicted. But he said the verdict gave him little comfort.
``There’s no winners in this,″ he said. ``I can only say that justice has been served, as it has to be in civilized society, and that I can just move on with my life.″