The District Court of Etelä-Karjala has decided not to convict a man accused of shooting dead three women outside a restaurant in Imatra, South-east Finland, in December, 2016.
Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday reported that the 24-year-old defendant was instead committed to involuntary treatment after the court determined, based on a psychological evaluation, that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the shootings.
He is also considered dangerous, according to the psychological evaluation conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
The District Court of Etelä-Karjala ruled the killings as murders, thus concurring with with the prosecution that the gunman had carried them out in a way that was not only firmly premeditated but also brutal and cruel.
The women who lost their lives in the shootings were the chairperson of the Imatra City Council and two journalists working at the joint editorial office of Etelä-Saimaa and Uutisvuoksi in Imatra. All three of them lost their lives immediately after being shot in the head and torso at close range as they were stepping out of a restaurant onto a pedestrian street in the early hours of Sunday, 4 December.
The gunman confessed in court to shooting the three women, but rejected the assessment that his act had been premeditated.
“The facts are not in question. It’s clear that my client left his residence, drove onto Koskenparras and shot these three people,” Jarmo Salmi, the defence counsel of the defendant, was quoted as saying in court on Tuesday by Helsingin Sanomat.
He also revealed that his client is not intent on appealing against the decision.
Asser Kuosmanen, the prosecutor assigned to the case, argued that the premeditated nature of the shootings became evident in that the gunman prepared for the act by taking a hunting rifle and five cartridges with him for the lengthy drive from his residence to central Imatra.
The District Court of Etelä-Karjala also ordered the defendant to pay a total of 180,000 euros in compensation to the victims’ families and to reimburse the legal costs of the plaintiffs.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva