District court increases prison sentence of brothers who killed taxi driver ({{commentsTotal}})

Filip-Artur and Benjamin Hiienurme murdered a taxi driver and stole his car in Jan. 2016.
Filip-Artur and Benjamin Hiienurme murdered a taxi driver and stole his car in Jan. 2016. Source: (ERR)

The Tallinn district court increased the prison sentences of Filip-Artur and Benjamin Hiienurme, the 21 and 19-year-old brothers who killed a taxi driver in January 2016, from 15 to 20 years.

The Tallinn district court overturned the sentence of the previous-tier Pärnu county court only with respect to the punishment of the Hiienurme brothers and increased their sentence by five years, the court’s press spokeswoman, Anneli Vilu, told ERR on Thursday.

The district court found that given the severity of the crime, the maximum sentence was appropriate. The court pointed out that the sentence took into account all of the case’s aggravating circumstances, including the fact that the brothers did not commit the crime alone, but together.

The victim had been chosen entirely at random and had simply been in a place that suited the brothers at the time, as they robbed his car, the court stated.

The knife they killed the taxi driver with had been at the ready, and a remote place chosen, and the body of the victim 95 stabbing wounds, which according to the court clearly showed that the crime was committed with the aim to make sure the victim was dead.

The court also found that the brothers were equally guilty, and that there was no reason to make the sentences differ.

Still, there was no justification for a life sentence in either case, the court found. Neither of the two brothers had no record of serious crimes, and it couldn’t be argued that they would go back to committing the same crime after serving their sentence.

Both the lawyer of the two brothers and the prosecutor appealed the Pärnu county court’s sentence.

The trial of the 21 and 19-year-old men began on Jan. 9 this year. Prosecutor for the West district, Gardi Anderson, had asked the court for life sentences for both.

The two were found guilty of having murdered a 65-year-old taxi driver. According to the investigation’s results, they stabbed the man at least 95 times. The victim had stabbing wounds in his head, neck, hands, and legs, the sum of which eventually was fatal.

The brothers have partially admitted guilt, though the lawyer of Benjamin Hiienurme, Rünno Roosmaa, insists that sighting over 1,000 pages of documents he hadn’t seen any proof that would justify the verdict. The only thing that could be established beyond any doubt was that they had stolen a car, Roosmaa said.

The police were informed on Jan. 31, 2016 at around 9 p.m. that a taxi had been stolen. The owner of the car couldn’t be reached. After the police learned that the car had crossed over into Latvia about an hour later, they informed the Latvian and Lithuanian authorities.

The Lithuanian police stopped the taxi and arrested the two brothers close to the town of Panevėžys. The body of the taxi driver was found the next day close to the village of Pulli in Pärnu County.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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