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Murder trial begins: 2 accused in Järvenpää drug deal shooting

The prosecution says the defendants lured the victim outside of his apartment by offering to buy drugs and then shot him as his young son watched the scene unfold from a window.

En stor byggnad med stora glasfönster.
Eastern Uusimaa District Court, file photo. Image: Yle / Mira Bäck

The murder trial of two men who stand accused of taking part in the shooting death of a 27-year-old man in the city of Järvenpää earlier this year began at Eastern Uusimaa District Court on Monday.

The prosecutor said that the victim was shot in broad daylight in the courtyard of a Järvenpää apartment building on 26 May. The incident stemmed from a 150 euro drug deal the previous day, according to the prosecution.

One of the defendants contacted the victim via a messaging app, saying he knew someone who wanted to buy drugs from him, according to court documents. The defendants had agreed together to contact the victim, the prosecution said.

The defendant who sent the message arranged to meet the victim outside his apartment building in the city's Pajala neighbourhood. The pair, according to the prosecution, then drove to the apartment in Järvenpää, where the defendant who initially contacted the victim waited in the yard, so that he would not know the other defendant was there.

The second defendant allegedly brought along an unregistered handgun to the scene.

The charges state that the defendants made efforts to ensure that the victim came out from the apartment building.

After the victim came outside, the man carrying the gun allegedly began threatening to shoot the victim. The victim then tried to grab the weapon, at which point the other defendant encouraged his accomplice to shoot him, the prosecution said.

The first shot hit the victim in the palm, then the defendant fired a second, fatal shot. Prosecutors said the round caused the man to collapse to the ground and that the tips of the bullets they used had been hollowed out with a drill to cause more damage upon impact.

The defendants then left the scene and returned to Kerava in the car, according to the prosecution.

The prosecutor has demanded that the men each receive life sentences.

Drug deal dispute

The prosecutor told the court that the act was premeditated, and was carried out in a particularly brutal and cruel manner, because the victim's seven-year-old child witnessed the shooting from the fourth-floor window of the family's apartment.

The two defendants, who both have previous criminal records, denied the charges of murder.

In written testimony, the defendant who initially texted with the victim said that there was no common plan made to carry out violence against him. The defendant admitted that he had sent the message to the victim.

The men also both face drug and firearms charges.

According to both of the defendants, the purpose of the meeting was to sort out a disagreement about a previous drug deal.

According to the prosecutor, the defendants had bought drugs from the victim the day before the shooting. But the drug parcel they received, which cost 150 euros, was not what not the substance that was agreed to and contained a cutting agent, according to the prosecutor.

According to the defence, the fact that the shooting took place in the middle of the day suggested that the men did not plan to kill the victim.

The defendant who is accused of shooting the victim said he took the gun along for intimidation purposes. The man who sent the victim messages said he was not aware that the other defendant had the gun with him and he also denied encouraging his accomplice to shoot the victim.

The shooter said he panicked when the victim approached him. The shooter said he started walking away from the scene after his first shot hit the victim in the hand.

He said that he thought he saw the victim reaching for something from his trouser leg, thinking that he had a gun and was going to shoot him, and then fired his second, fatal, shot.

The defendants also claim that they did not know the victim lived in the apartment building and the defence said it was unclear how much of the course of events the victim's family could have seen from the window.

The men were detained by police 6 June and ordered to be held on remand, under suspicion of murder. At the time of their detainment, one of the defendants was found with an unauthorised starting pistol and revolver.

Yle reported at the time that the suspects had extensive rap sheets, including ties to the outlawed Cannonball motorcycle gang.

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