RIGA - The Riga Regional Court has sentenced Andrejs Klimovs to 20 years in prison and massive fines for the murder of his wife and two sons in 2006 and large-scale embezzlement.
The defendant confessed to the crime and pleaded guilty during a pre-trial investigation. The defense had asked for an acquittal on the grounds of mental instability, claiming that there was not enough evidence to prove otherwise.
Expert witnesses claimed that Klimovs had psychological problems but no outright mental disabilities, and that as such he was not a danger to the public.
In August 2006, Klimovs strangled his wife and two children to death using a rope he had bought a few months earlier. Klimovs immediately went to the police and confessed to the crime. Close friends and relatives said they were surprised by the act, and that, up to that point at least, Klimovs had been an exemplary father.
Prosecutor Evija Freidenfelde-Sedleniece had asked for a life sentence but said she was satisfied with the ruling. She underscored that psychological peculiarities are not considered substantial grounds to mitigate punishment.
Klimovs was charged with multiple aggravated murders. The maximum punishment for the offense is life imprisonment. He was also charged with embezzlement in large amounts, punishable by six to 15 years in prison with confiscation of property.
Klimovs was also found guilty of embezzling more than 35,000 lats (50,000 euros) from two of his former work places.
Freidenfelde-Sedleniece said Klimovs may have felt that it was better for his family to die than be dishonored by his embezzlement. Police were also working on the theory that his wife, who was also a coworker, discovered he was misappropriating funds.
The court ruled that Klimovs would have to pay 300,857 lats in damages to his mother in law, Valentina Andreicuka.
The courts also ruled that he would have to pay 19,450 lats to Altea and 17,500 lats to the Spelu Nams gaming company, two of his former employers.
The defendant's father still maintains his son's innocence, claiming that other people murdered his family and he was framed.
A full text of the verdict will be ready on Jan. 29, and the ruling can be appealed to the Supreme Court within ten days.