Murderer of Czech Jewish historian sentenced to 28 years in jail


(JTA) — The man who fatally stabbed Czech Jewish heritage researcher Jiri Fiedler and his wife was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Dalibor Skopan, 29, attacked the couple with a knife in their Prague apartment in March 2014. Skopan confessed and said he needed money to avoid living homeless in the street. He also expressed regret over his crime.

But the judge who sentenced Skopan this week in Prague Municipal Court said Skopan had committed a particularly severe act of violence, and even put the lives of other building residents at risk when he sealed the windows in the apartment and opened gas burners, apparently hoping that an explosion would destroy incriminating evidence.

Skopan stole jewelry and several books that he later sold for the equivalent of about $200.

The judge said that Skopan contacted Fiedler over his alleged interest in architectural history but in reality had been planning to ask the couple for money. Skopan browsed through books and photographs of Jewish monuments before stabbing the Fiedlers.

The Fiedlers’ son found his parents two weeks after the murder.

Fiedler, who was not Jewish, began documenting neglected synagogues, cemeteries and other Jewish monuments in what was then Czechoslovakia in the 1970s. He published his major work, an encyclopedia of Jewish monuments in Czechoslovakia, after the fall of communism in the country.

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