STA, 6 June 2022 - A retrial started at the Ptuj District Court on Monday for Silvo Drevenšek, whose December 2021 guilty verdict for triple murder was quashed last month. Drevenšek, who pleaded guilty of murdering his partner and her parents in the first trial, now said that his long-time alcohol problem was to be blamed for what he had done.
The retrial was ordered by the Maribor Higher Court in April because six instead of just five judges ruled on the case.
This is why the retrial now started in front of a new panel led by judge Katja Kolarič, while the indictment remains unchanged.
When the Ptuj court pronounced the ruling in December 2021, Drevenšek became the first person to get life imprisonment after it was reintroduced into the Slovenian criminal code in 2008.
He was found guilty of murdering his former spouse and of then going to her parents' home next door to murder them in front of his four-year-old son on Christmas 2020.
He is charged with three counts of murder, committed with a knife in an insidious way and out of spite, and of abuse of a minor and of cruel treatment.
Drevenšek is accused of committing the murders to prevent the partner, who wanted to divorce him, from splitting their assets and keeping the house.
At the first trail, he initially refused to take the stand but eventually admitted to have committed the murders just before the verdict was delivered.
This time around, he opted for a different strategy - he will try to persuade the court that he does not remember the crimes which resulted from his alcohol abuse.
He told the court today that he does not remember the month of December 2020, or events a few weeks after the murders, when he was already in detention.
Drevenšek also changed his initial statements made during the investigation about his former partner's family showing contempt for him and insulting him.
He now said his former partner had always stood by his side and tried to persuade him to get treatment, but no psychiatric hospital would admit new patients during the coronavirus epidemic.
"To this day, I don't know what happened to me and I never will. I had never committed an offence in my life, I would not even step on an ant," the defendant said.
He said he would respect the court's decision to include a forensic expert in the trial, something that was not done in the first trial.
"No one has yet commented on how a person can do such a thing and how long-term intoxication affects it. I don't even remember what happened," Drevenšek said.
Similarly, his defence lawyer Andrej Kac said that it is clear what had happened but it is not clear what had led to the bloody acts.
He proposed that the court appoint several experts to take the stand and to again hear 17 witnesses, which the court agreed to do.