Greek court postpones retrial in Bakari Henderson’s beating death

Austin

ATHENS (AP/KXAN) — A Greek court on Monday indefinitely postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of an Austin tourist on an island resort.

The postponement was granted following a request by some of the defendants’ lawyers, who were trying separate cases on the same day.

Monday’s postponement was the second, after the court in the western town of Patras deferred the case last week to give the newly hired lawyer representing the dead man’s family time to familiarize himself with the case.

Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island in western Greece. Henderson’s mother, Jill, told KXAN they will now have to wait for a new subpoena to be issued.

“We were surprised to learn that only three murderers are still in jail so we don’t want any others to be released,” Jill Henderson said.

Six of the suspects — five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin — were initially convicted by a first instance court last year and sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison, but four have since been released. The seventh defendant, a Greek barman, was acquitted. A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient.

Jill Henderson said in addition to the delay, her family is also disappointed by a new law as of July 1, 2019 that would give the defendants a chance to get reduced charges during the new proceeding.

“We were originally told under the previous law that sentences could only be increased,” Jill Henderson said.

The Patras court didn’t immediately set a new trial date.

Jill Henderson said her family, which had traveled to Greece for the trial, would come back to the United States and then return to Greece once a new date is set.

‘It’s a heavy burden to still be lingering on for sure,” Jill Henderson said, adding that her faith in God has helped her and her family through the years as they seek closure. “We look forward to the day when the proceedings are all finalized so we can kind of move on with the rest of our lives.”

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