Defendant Pleads Guilty to Gruesome Murder of Bulgarian Teen Girl
Mario Lyubenov, charged with kidnapping and murdering 17-year-old Miroslava Nikolova from the southwestern Bulgarian town of Pernik, has pleaded guilty to all counts on the indictment.
During the Monday sitting of the Pernik District Court, Lybenov requested fast-track proceedings and his plea was approved, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.
The investigating authorities have collected over 40 folders of evidence, a total of 93 witnesses have been summoned and 27 expert statements have been prepared for the case.
In April, the prosecuting authority submitted an indictment against Mario Lyubenov.
He was charged with kidnapping a minor girl, premeditated murder carried out in an exceptionally cruel manner, in order to hide another crime.
Miroslava Nikolova was kidnapped on November 7, 2011 for a ransom which was never received.
Her dead body was discovered 3 months later, on January 12, 2012, on the territory of the village of Planinitsa, Pernik municipality.
One of the suspects, Stoycho Stoev, who took the police to the location where the dead body was found, committed suicide.
Stoev shot himself before the eyes of highly-trained police officers after he got hold of a gun during the search of his apartment.
Mario Lyubenov was arrested after the girl's dead body was discovered and was kept in custody.
He was identified by Stoev as the murderer of the girl.
Lybenov was arrested on Stoev's testimony, shortly before Stoev shot himself.
According to the prosecuting authority, the two had been planning the murder five months in advance, with no intentions to hide Miroslava somewhere while waiting for the money, but to kill her.
Little after kidnapping the girl, the two requested a ransom from her family, seeking to lay hands on the money of Borislav Cholev, fiancé of Miroslava's sister, Eleonora.