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Rethymno: Breeder’s murder on Crete revives 10-year-old vendetta

The atmosphere is tense in Ano Meros by Amari village after the murder of a 63-year-old stock-breeder. Locals express fear for the revival of an old vendetta between two families as the victim has allegedly killed the grandfather of the suspected murderer.

The breeder was assassinated with three bullets in the head and the chest near Rethymnon on the island of Crete on Sunday noon. The man was in his car together with an Albanian employee, who was slightly injured and hospitalized.

The victim reportedly died immediately in what is seems to have been an ambush. Citing police sources, local media note that the gunman fired directly at the victim who was sitting in the car had had no possibility to react.

According to local daily patris, two cars blocked the victim’s vehicle, one man approached the vehicle, broke the window glass with a crook and directly shot at the farmer.

By Sunday evening, police arrested a 24-year-old man who denies that he was the gunman who shot the farmer. Police is seeking his 25-year-old brother so seems to have left the village.

Authorities but also the locals suggest that the murder took place in retaliation of a ten-year-old bloody feud between the families of the victim and the murderer.

The vendetta

The victim was reportedly involved in an incident that took place in the village in  August 2008. Three members from each of the two families had meet to solve a disputer about grassing land. However, the dispute was not solved with words but with guns and bullets. The murderer’s grandfather, around the same age as the victim today, was fatally injured and died, while the remaining  five ‘negotiators’ were also injured.

As the grandfather did not died on the spot but later in the hospital, the killer’s family managed to win misdemeanor charges. The grandfather’s family felt justice was not served.

The hate between the two families continued over the years with threats at both directions but also ambushes and attacks and some of the injured of 2008 to be bound to wheelchairs.

The farmer’s funeral took place in the presence of police forces as the atmosphere is tense,  the members of his family are “boiling with anger” and authorities fear retaliation from the victim’s family.

The Cretan society is well known for notorious family and clan vendettas where the family of a murdered person seeks vengeance on the murderer or the murderer’s family.

The phenomenon seem to persist on the island to date, even though it has declined in recent years.

Cretans have the tradition of keeping firearms at home,  although guns and firearms are supposed to be subject to strict regulation from the government.

Famous is the case of Faratsi village in Mylopotamos, also by Rethymnon, that was literally abandoned some decades ago due to fear of vendetta. From the 30 families living in Faratsi only one man has been left behind.

UPDATE: According to local media the arrested 24-year-old confessed to police that he killed the stock-breeder claiming that the victim threatened him with a rifle. He denied he had set an ambush.

His 25-year-old brother has surrendered to police, “following pressure.” He denies any involvement in the crime saying that when he went there [crime scene] “the bad thing had already happened.”

The Prosecutor pressed charges against the 24-year-old  for homicide with intention and attempted homicide against the Albanian worker. The brother is charged with “complicity to homicide.”

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