Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bali Killer's Sentence Angers Family

This is a very strange verdict - the judge ordered the killer's personal belongings to be given to the victim's family - would you really want them after your daughter was murdered??

An Indonesian man has escaped a life sentence for killing Australian fashion designer Heidi Murphy in a Bali villa, despite judges describing the crime as sadistic and inhumane.

Ms Murphy's family reacted angrily to the 15-year jail term for Achmad Fahrul Rozi, indicating they would pressure prosecutors to appeal for a stiffer sentence.

Chief judge Daniel Palittim rejected the prosecution's call for a life sentence on a charge of intentionally killing during a crime. The judge said Rozi had panicked when Ms Murphy woke while he was robbing her villa on February 10 and stabbed her to silence her.

The 23-year-old Rozi was found guilty of a secondary charge of robbery with violence, resulting in death.

Prosecutors had earlier dropped a charge of premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty.

Rozi stabbed Ms Murphy 37 times before covering the 34-year-old's body with a blanket and stripping her bedroom of valuables.

A lawyer for the Murphy family, Umi Martina, said she had received a message from them after telling them of the verdict.

"They are not satisfied," Mrs Martina said. "This was savage. We do not respect this sentence. He must be punished for all of his life."

Judge Palittim said Rozi arrived at the villa in Canggu near midnight carrying a crowbar, knife and rope. He watched Ms Murphy close downstairs windows and turn off the lights before he entered through a side door.

He tried to take a laptop computer from next to the bed where Ms Murphy was sleeping. She woke and said something in English which Rozi couldn't understand so he stabbed her, Judge Palittim said.

"She tried to grab the knife from him, but she fell and the defendant continued to stab as she lay on the ground," he said.

Judge Palittim said Rozi did not intend to kill Ms Murphy, but panicked and wanted to stop her screaming. However, he went on to say the violence was "very sadistic and very inhumane".

As part of the verdict, Judge Palittim announced that Rozi's belongings, and the blood-covered blanket used to cover Ms Murphy's body, would be given to her family. The belongings include an engagement ring Rozi bought for his girlfriend with the proceeds of the robbery.

Rozi's lawyer, Made Dananjaya, said he might appeal because "we think the punishment should be lighter".

Judge Palittim said Rozi had expressed remorse. He sat, downcast and quiet during the hearing, showing no emotion when told to stand for the verdict.

The defendant and prosecutors were given a week to decide whether they will appeal.

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