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Society

Parents of US Tourist Killed in Greece Want Murder Conviction in Retrial

January 13, 2020

PATRAS – Feeling “betrayed” that a Greek court convicted seven men of lesser charges in the 2017 beating death of their son on the island of Zakynthos in 2017, the family of Bakari Henderson came from Texas again for the retrial, hoping for a murder conviction.

The case is set to be taken up again Jan. 13 in a court in Patras, Greece’s third-largest city on the country’s coast, off where Zakynthos is located, the island having a notorious reputation for hooliganism and violence by heavy drinking, hard-partying tourists, especially British.

Six of the men – five Serbians and a British man of Serbian origin – were convicted last year and sentenced to 5-15 years in prison but four were already released and another defendant, a Greek barman, was acquitted.

A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient, a practice allowed because Greece doesn’t have a double jeopardy law and prosecutions can keep coming.

Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos, shown on surveillance cameras on the street, leading the family and their atorneys to believe a murder conviction would be certain.

“No one should get away with murder,” his mother, Jill Henderson told CNN.. “No matter who the victim is and no matter who the defendant is,” she added.

Video footage showed Bakari taking a picture with another man and a woman in a bar before being confronted by a third man with earlier testimony indicating the assailant was upset the woman was talking to Henderson because he was African-American.

In the second video, Bakari is seen running, followed by a pack of men who throw him on the street and begin punching and kicking him as he was motionless before passers-by broke it up. He was taken away in an ambulance and pronounced dead.

“Evidence shows this was a cold-blooded murder as a mob attacked Bakari, attacking him with punches to the head and torso,” Andreas Patsis, the attorney who represented the family during the first trial, had said in a statement.

“I felt like we had, in my mind, been betrayed,” Jill Henderson said. “Bakari was a human, he wasn’t just some random object that got tossed away. He actually meant a lot to his family and friends and we just think justice should be served.”

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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