Kuciak murder trial: The indicted rejected a plea bargain

The main trial will start as early as January 13.

The four people whom the police believe to have murdered Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová stood in front of the court together for the first time since they were charged.

The Specialised Criminal Court in Pezinok held a preliminary hearing in the murder case, with the conclusion that neither the prosecutors nor the defendants showed interest in making a plea bargain. The main trial was set to start in mid-January. The judge has excluded the Threema transcripts, which had been widely reported on in the Slovak media over the past few months, as evidence against the defendants so far.

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"I hope that, given that the media from the whole world are watching, things will go the right way," Zlatica Kušnírová, mother of the murdered Martina, told journalists upon arriving to court.

Investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová were killed in their house in the western-Slovak municipality of Veľká Mača on February 21, 2018. The police linked the murder to Kuciak's investigative work very soon after their bodies were discovered. The prosecution believes Marian Kočner ordered the murder through his intermediary, Alena Zsuzsová, from Miroslav Marček and Tomáš Szabó, who are believed to have committed the deed.

Another middleman, Zoltán Andruskó, has been cooperating with the police since he was detained in autumn of 2018. He now remains a key witness and he faces a separate case, to be heard by the court on December 30.

In the courtroom

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