Beheaded Model Sentence Reduced
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:ATH104-100802; AUDIO:%)
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) _ A Greek appeals court on Tuesday reduced to 23 years in prison the life sentence imposed on a Greek seaman for the murder and mutilation of his American girlfriend.
George Skiadopoulos was convicted three years ago in the Jan. 8, 1999, slaying of 31-year-old former model Julie Scully of Mansfield, N.J. Scully’s body was found burned and beheaded.
The reduced sentence means the 28-year-old Skiadopoulos may apply for early release in as little as five years.
Skiadopoulos claimed his actions were not premeditated but the result of ``jealous rage″ because Scully wanted to leave him.
Scully, a former legal secretary, was known in the Trenton, N.J., area as a ``Page Six″ pinup model for The Trentonian newspaper. Her photo appeared on billboards promoting the newspaper. She also did promotional work for beer companies.
Police said Skiadopoulos strangled Scully in a car outside the northern town of Kavala. He then doused her with gasoline and set her body ablaze. He said he put her remains in a suitcase. Skiadopoulos then dumped the suitcase into a swamp before driving away.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Skiadopoulos told the court: ``I was in a haze when she said she would leave me. I had planned my life with her. It was a moment of intense passion.″
The court recognized his remorse and noted his lack of prior convictions.
The one-day appeal was heard at a court in Komotini, about 500 miles northeast of Athens.
Timothy Nist, Scully’s former husband and farther of their young daughter, also testified Tuesday. He told reporters before the verdict: ``He must be punished. We lost our Julie.″
Nist left without making any comment after the reduced sentence was announced.
Skiadopoulos was a petty officer on a cruise ship when he met Scully on a Caribbean voyage in 1997. She moved to Greece the following year.