2 life sentences for Greek academic in poisoning case

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A Greek court has sentenced a university lecturer to two life terms in prison for fatally poisoning his wife and her grandmother with arsenic.

The court ruled late Thursday night that the 46-year-old geology lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki gradually poisoned his 34-year-old wife and her 85-year-old grandmother in August 2013. He has appealed the verdict, so cannot be named.

The prosecution said the man had gradually poisoned his wife over several months, even bringing her water laced with arsenic during her hospitalization. The woman’s grandmother is believed to have succumbed quickly to a smaller dose.

The lawyer for the woman’s family, Sofia Neroladaki, welcomed the verdict but added “no verdict can bring the two women back.”

The lecturer denied the charges, insisting the two women had been poisoned by a high arsenic content in the water at his family’s holiday home, and pointed to tests that showed both he and his young daughter also had elevated levels of arsenic.

“The decision is ridiculous and it puts us back in the Middle Ages,” defense lawyer Nikolas Dialynas said. “Without any evidence and without any proof, a man is sentenced to two life terms.”

Authorities began investigating the deaths after high levels of arsenic were found in the grandmother. The two women’s bodies were later exhumed to check the findings.

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