A 28-year-old man from Crete, identified as Yiannis Paraskakis, was sentenced to life in prison by a Greek court, after he was found guilty of raping and killing an American biologist in 2019.
Suzanne Eaton, a 60-year-old molecular biologist, was attending a conference in Crete when she went missing on July 2. Her body was found six days later in a tunnel used as a storage site during World War II.
The Greek farmer admitted to hitting Eaton twice with his car before abducting her, then raping and murdering her.
Paraskakis claimed he was "possessed by demons."
The seven-member court of three judges and four jury members found Paraskakis guilty. "A life sentence for murder, 13 years for rape and 4 months for possession of arms," the court in Chania said.
"This was a world-class biologist," the family’s lawyer Vasso Pantazi said of the Oakland-born scientist.
"In terms of virus contagiousness and vaccines, you can understand how useful she would have been today."
Eaton was married to British scientist Anthony Hyman. The couple has two sons.
Last year, the father of the Paraskakis apologised to her family through a letter released to the press.
The full letter is as follows:
“As a human being and a priest, and entirely in agreement with the prevailing sentiment, I am devastated at the heinous and appalling way one of our fellow humans lost her life, even more so that the perpetrator of this crime is my own child. I want to express my sincere condolences to the family, husband and children of the hapless American woman Suzanne Eaton. I hope God provides them strength and comfort. As long as I live, I will pray to the Almighty to rest her soul. On the other hand, as a father, I cannot not stand by my child during this difficult time, even if he committed such a serious crime. I would like to apologise to the family of the hapless woman, my fellow villagers, all Cretans, and the Greek and global public opinion. Now it is the turn of Greek justice. This isolated incident cannot in any way describe the peace-loving, honorable and welcoming residents of a country, a people and a nation. I also beseech you: For what happened, the perpetrator’s wife and young children bear no responsibility; please respect our own pain at this time. Just like the family of Suzanne who died tragically, so shall we from now on and from here die an emotional and moral death every day.”