Sports bag murder charges handed down

Six defendants have been formally charged over their suspected involvement in a murder that saw a woman’s body dumped in a sports bag in central Finland last January.

The 37 year-old occupant of a Jyvaskyla apartment, where the killing is thought to have taken place, and the victim’s 19 year-old brother in law, were charged with murder by the Central Finland District Court last week.

The body of the 25 year-old woman from Lahti was found by a passer-by, stuffed inside a sports bag in the city’s Taka-Keljo district. Police concluded that she had been killed with a cocktail of drugs on the night between 5th and 6th January 2010 at a flat in Pupuhuhta on the other side of town.

In addition to the two main defendants, one man faces charges of incitement to murder, while another man and a woman have been charged with accessory to murder. Finally, one woman and a man are facing the lesser charge of neglecting to assist the victim.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, prosecutors told the court that a series of drug and alcohol-fuelled events involving a number of people led to the woman’s murder. They believe that the killers were motivated to act because the victim had been involved in previous violent incidents, acted as a police informant, and had failed to distribute drugs and collect debts.

The victim was married to one of the defendants, a group which includes three brothers and two married couples. All of the suspects deny any involvement in the crime.