East Iceland Murderer Sentenced to 16 Years

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East Iceland Murderer Sentenced to 16 Years

By Alëx Elliott
Supreme Court of Iceland

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

“This is very disappointing, the judgment is simply wrong,” says Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, defense lawyer for Friðrik Brynjar Friðriksson, who was yesterday sentenced to 16 years in jail by the Supreme Court of Iceland.

The sentence was handed down to Friðrik for the murder of Karl Jónsson, in the early hours of May 7, 2013 in Egilsstaðir. Karl was stabbed 92 times.

Friðrik was originally sentenced to 16 years in prison by the District Court of East Iceland on 23rd October, but the judgment was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Two experts were called upon by the court to review the police investigation and all evidence in the case. Their report on May 27 said that evidence in the case did not confirm decisively that Friðrik had killed the man, Vísir.is reports.

The experts criticized photographs the police had taken at the crime scene, as some of them seemed blurry and unsuitable. The experts would also have liked to have seen more photographs from all angles, including of the bloody hand print found on the balcony of the apartment where Karl was killed.

The Supreme Court felt other evidence was concrete enough, and upheld the sentence.

The original hearing at the District Court of East Iceland was played a recording of Friðrik’s call to the emergency services: “Yes, hello, my name is Friðrik Brynjar. I think I’ve killed a man.”

“I punched him once, right head-on, and he fell down and I pulled him out with me to the balcony,” he said in the recording.

Friðrik sounded drunk and was clearly upset at times during the phone call, Vísir.is reported. “I'm in shock,” he said. “I don’t want to go over to him.”

In the phone call Friðrik claimed he had not hit Karl without reason. “He attacked me,” he said, “He tried to kiss me.”

Contrary to Friðrik’s version, a German pathologist confirmed for the court that the victim had suffered 92 knife wounds, inflicted with “a lot of rage and violence”. A whole was punctured in his heart and two liters of blood had bled from his chest when police arrived at the scene. He had probably lost consciousness very quickly after being stabbed in the chest: probably within ten to thirty seconds.

The German pathologist highlighted the massive force required to stab a knife into the chest, through the ribcage, as well as the knife fragments left in the victim’s head.

Asked if it was possible Karl had inflicted the injuries upon himself, the pathologist answered that he could possibly have mustered the power to stab himself once in the chest in that manner, but never twice.

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