Latvian citizen guilty of murdering his girlfriend in Spain

  • 2011-06-08
  • By Isabel Ovalle

RIGA - A Latvian citizen has been declared guilty of murder by a jury in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. After a week-long trial, the members of the jury voted unanimously to declare Maris Meiers guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend, Kristine, also from Latvia, in 2008. The court considers it proven that the defendant traveled from Latvia to Tenerife expressly to end the life of the 26-year-old woman, Kristine Zoikova, who had been his girlfriend years back.

The crime committed by Meiers took place in Arona, in the south of the island, in a neighborhood called Guargacho, the night of Aug. 17, 2008. The victim was attacked by surprise, and was stabbed up to 84 times in the chest, back, face and the lower and upper extremities. Then, the murderer fled the scene on foot, but was struck by a neighbor and the victim’s boyfriend, Armando.

Judge Francisco Mulero was in charge of the trial in the Court House of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the process the testimony of the different witnesses have clarified that the defendant rented a car when he arrived to the island and drove to the victim’s house wearing a wig, sunglasses and gloves so that he would not be recognized. These facts led the jury to declare Meiers guilty of murder with premeditation and cruelty.

The prosecution requested a punishment of 25 years in prison. In the penalty requested for Meiers, on which the magistrate judge will decide in the coming days, also includes that, after his stay in prison, his entry be prohibited in Tenerife over the next decade. The defense intends to appeal the decision of the jury, to not admit the mitigation of blind obstinacy, by which the penalty should be reduced to 17 years in prison.

Meiers has been held imprisoned in ‘Tenerife II’ since the successful operation completed by the Guardia Civil to locate him, about ten days after the crime, when he was traveling on the tram that circulates in the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The presiding judge of the process, which was initially to be held in the fifth section of the Audiencia Provincial of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in March, had declared the procedure null, claiming that it could not be carried out because the defendant was unable to appear for the verdict.

However, the prosecutor, the counsel for the State, the Canarian Institute of Parity and the private prosecutor, did not believe the defendant’s presence necessary to hear the verdict.

The decision forced the court to elect a new jury and repeat all the hearings. The defendant remained in prison until the new trial commenced last week, after having tried to commit suicide for the third time by taking pills.
According to the Spanish Guardia Civil, the Latvian Police has informed them that Meiers is also being investigated for the death of the victim’s sister, whose body was found inside a suitcase in a lake.