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Two Killers of Greek Writer Get Life Sentences Cut to 18 Years

ATHENS – Two Romanian men convicted of the strangling murder of prominent author Menis Koumandareas in 2014 had their sentences reduced from life to 18 years, plus another 18 months, by an Appeals Court on the grounds of good behavior.

Koumandareas, then 83, was killed in his home in the downtown Athens neighborhood of Kypseli after reportedly refusing to give money to men,one of whom had been an acquaintance for several years, said Kathimerini.

The Appeals Court heard the case in 2020 with a witness testifying one of the two killers had been in a volatile relationship with the writer although it wasn’t detailed what that was.

A coroner had said that Koumandareas had struggled with his killer and bore bruising to his stomach and head but one of the men, Stefan Mătăsăreanu, 25, despite being convicted, denied the killing.

He shouted out, “I am innocent. I’ve done nothing. I loved that person,” while leaving the office of the investigating magistrate after reportedly admitting going to the writer’s apartment with another man, Cosmin Gaitan, 29, to borrow money but not with the goal of robbing and killing the writer.

He claimed to have known Koumandareas for nine years and to have regarded him as a father. The writer was found dead in his bed by a relative.

Koumandareas attended classes in the Philosophy and Law schools of the University of Athens, as well as a drama school, but didn’t finish his studies, working  as a journalist, clerk in a seafaring business and an insurance office.

He was both a writer and translator, his work published in  literary periodicals. He was awarded the State Prize for Short Story in 1967 and 1997, and Novels in 1975 and 2002 and from 1982-86 was on the Board of Directors for the Greek National Opera.

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