The cause of death of Zak Kostopoulos remains ‘undetermined’ the coroner who conducted the autopsy said on Monday afternoon. The 33-year-old man was brutally beaten last Friday noon by a jeweler and another man after he allegedly went to rob the jewelry shop in Omonia in the center of Athens. He died short time after on the way to the hospital.
“No fatal injury was found on the body,” Coroner Nikos Kalogrias, one of the two state coroners who examined the body, was quoted by Greek media.
According to the autopsy findings, there has been “no fatal injury to justify the death.”
The results of histological and toxicological tests are expected to shed light to the man’s death.
The two state coroners and one technical consultant representing Kostopoulos’ family have reportedly agreed that the autopsy results did not “determine the cause of the death.”
“He [Kostopoulos] had several wounds scattered in various parts of the body, small slashes that do not justify death, so we go further in laboratory testing. At this stage we can say after the macroscopical examination during the autopsy, that there were no lethal injuries to justify the dead, ” the coroner said.
On his part, the technical consultant of Kostopoulos family, S. Tsantiris told reporters that they “could not identify a fatal organ injury” and that is why “we ended up in the undetermined cause of death pending laboratory tests that include toxicological and histological examination.”
These tests will reveal whether the victim had consumed substances.
“The laboratory tests will give us the answers,” Tsantiris said.
The results are expected in the next 20 days.
The family’s lawyer said later that the autopsy found a “brain swelling that could not be evaluated.” (see below.)
Police investigation continues with the collection of witness testimonies and footage from CCTV cameras in the area.
The owner of the jewelry shop remains in custody since Saturday morning and was to testify to judges today Tuesday. However, testimony was postponed for Wednesday as investigators were still collecting evidence.
On Saturday, felony charges for “fatal bodily harm” and misdemeanor charges for “dangerous bodily harm” were pressed against the 74-year-old jeweler.
Based on the final autopsy findings, the indictment may change.
Police has reportedly identified the second man who repeatedly kicked Zak Kostopoulos together with the shop owner. He surrendered to police on Monday.
It is not known whether police is seeking also the man who kicked him while he was lying injured on the ground in front of the shop as well as one man who threw an object at him.
Police is also investigates a knife found in the area, although it is not clear whether inside or outside the shop. The knife had Kostopoulos’ fingerprints, media report on Monday.
According to state ERT TV, police investigates as well whether the two who beat Kostopoulos knew him before.
There are contradicting report on whether there is an “internal investigation” against the policemen who fell over Kostopoulos to remove a piece of glass from the broken shop window.
The puzzle of what exactly happened and what was the cause of the death has still several pieces to add.
Kostopoulos’ family says still after the coroner’s findings that it was “murder” and that Zak was not in need of money.
According to Alpha TV, police found money in his apartment.
The same broadcaster reported citing police sources and based on his friends’ testimonies that “the victim was walking on the street with two of his friends and was in confusion probably due to drugs consumption. He was holding a knife. He entered the jewelry shop with no theft intention.”
The family’s lawyer Chrysa Petsimeri more or less confirmed that the victim was in confused state of mind.
She told Alpha TV that “the autopsy has found a brain swelling which would not be evaluated.” She added that the laboratory tests will give the answer.”
Petsimeri criticized police of negligence during and after the whole incident. She said among others that police did not secure the crime scene properly.
Self-redress divides Greeks
According to his own words, Zak Kostopoulos was an LGBT activist, addicted to drugs and HIV positive. He was occasionally working as a columnist for a newspaper .
The brutal video showing the two men fiercely beating the man they alleged he was a thief has shocked many and divided the Greek society.
A part of the society supports the beating claiming it was self-defense and that the shop owner had every right to defend his life and his property.
However, based on the video, one sees no case of self-defense as the owner was outside the shop and Kostopoulos inside, trapped due to an automatic security door.
The jeweler was reportedly absent and the shop unattended with the door open when Kostopoulos went inside.
Another part of the society condemns the beating and sees a form of self-redress.
Many raise questions about the fact that the owner had left his jewelry shop open and unattended in order to go shopping to a kiosk nearby.
There are a lot of claims on the Greek internet, coming from both “fronts” and police has to find out the truth.
That Zak Kostopoulos did not die as a result of the kicks he received as he was lying over broken window glasses does not change the fact that somebody died following an unprecedented situation:
That men go against somebody who can hardly walk and stand and beat him blindly while a crowd stands around watching, doing nothing to prevent the attack taking place in the center of a European capital in middle of the day.
It doesn’t change the fact that a “thief” lost his life for a misdemeanor crime.
It doesn’t change the fact the Greek society has turned more and more aggressive and violent in the recent years, months, weeks, days.
It doesn’t change the fact, that some people possibly frustrated by their own lives have no moral barriers to go with violence against somebody vulnerable like a drug-addict in panic, against a 75-year-old mayor or against a lawmaker they don’t agree with his views.
It does not change the fact that there is a part of the society cheering punches and kicks instead of arguments.
PS Is this what the economic crisis did to Greece? Turn a civilized society into a jungle?