Man freed in axe attack victim murder trial

The man charged with the suspected murder of a 51-year-old man in April was acquitted Tuesday due to lack of evidence, despite the court declaring that it was “highly likely” that he was the killer.

The 51-year-old victim, Esa Rano, was found dead in his home in a small village outside of Haparanda, far northern Sweden.

The court wrote in their judgment that it was “highly likely” that it was the 23-year-old who shot Rano, yet the court lacked forensic evidence linking the acquitted man to the murder weapon or to the plastic bottle that was used as a silencer.

Rano’s death resulted in great public attention as he had been involved in a violent feud that had raged in the village of Vojakkala for over twenty years.

In May 2008, he was attacked in the yard outside of his house and sustained serious injuries after receiving axe blows to the neck and face.

His death in April, this year, was caused by a shot to the head.

The court verdict was not a unanimous decision however, with two of the four jurymen wanting the 23-year-old to be sentenced to 14 years prison for murder.

The Judge and the juror who voted for the indictment to be dismissed explained that it was possible that someone other than the defendant shot the victim in the head.

The trial itself, held at Luleå District Court in northern Sweden, was no open and shut case either.

A bomb threat disturbed proceedings for one day in late August and a key witness became a suspect before being freed soon after.

TT/The Local/og

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