BELGRADE – News that proceedings have been suspended against American Lucas V. (17) who, towards the end of October of last year, stabbed Belgrade resident Tomo Culafic (19) and basketball player KK Beko in Kalemegdan, and that the young New Yorker was let off with only a “sorry”, shocked the public.

Lucas V. - Photo: Alo.rs
Lucas V. – Photo: Alo.rs

Many consider such an unusual court decision “shameful for the Serbian judiciary”, and there are those who think it was “instructed” to make this decision, Vecernje Novosti reports.

Goran Petronijevic, Toma Culafic’s lawyer, was frightened by what occurred behind the closed doors of the juvenile department of the Higher Court in Belgrade, primarily regarding the
prosecution.

“In this case, the prosecution’s investigation was orchestrated with unprofessionalism and appeasement, completely ignoring all the evidence from the police, hospital, and others”, claims Petronijevic.

“The American was met in every way with evidence against him. Even though he almost killed this innocent young man, in other words badly injured him, he got off without being jailed, without facing a charge, and with barely a ‘sorry’ for his acts. This is an embarrassment for the Serbian judiciary.”

Petronijevic gave “Novosti” what were up until now unknown details pertaining to the case: “The investigation led to a series of failures. First, the prosecution reversed the statement made by an expert regarding the weapon with which Culafic was stabbed. Despite the fact that the expert was certain that the weapon in question was a knife or pocketknife, the prosecution made a final statement saying that the young man was stabbed with an ‘unidentified object’, which is absurd. Also, the prosecution deliberately overlooked the fact that the young American had made communications that night with his friends over telephone in regards to making statements, as well as wanting to flee from Serbia. He was, after all, arrested at the airport before his attempt to flee. Is all this not enough evidence to point to the fact that he wished to avoid responsibility for what he had done?”

Finally, according to the lawyer, the young New Yorker knew very well how, where, and with what to stab the Serbian basketball player: “The public is not aware of the fact that the American is a skilled fencer that that he has been engaged in this sport since he was young. It has been confirmed that he was the champion fencer amongst his generation of high schoolers four years in a row. That is why, this fateful night, he knew exactly how and where to stab Culafic. He stabbed Culafic with a knife, which he later attempted to dispose of, right in the chest and only two centimeters from the heart. The man barely survived.”

Despite this, Lukas V. managed to avoid prosecution and jail time in Serbia. He made a deal with the prosecution that allowed him to bypass corrective measures for inflicting light injuries.

He was originally suspected of attempted murder. Likewise, the family of the underage American had originally submitted 25,000 euros bail to the Higher Court in Belgrade for his release from prison, an amount which will be returned to them.

“I wonder how the situation would have played out had a Serbian in America committed the same act or, for example, had a Serbian stabbed an American in Belgrade? In any case, we will be seeking compensation for authorities in Serbia, and likewise in America; in other words, we will be seeking redress for what their citizen did to this young man.”

Unfortunately, this is not the only case in which the Serbian judiciary accidentally or deliberately turned a blind eye to crimes committed to foreigners in our country. So passes a full year since the accident that had occurred on the way from Kopaonik to Brus, in which Milanka Popovic (77) was killed by a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade. The accident occurred when a jeep traveling at high speed rammed into a Peugot 605, in which Milanka found herself in the passenger seat. The jeep was driven by the head of the economic department of the American Embassy David Andrew Krzywda. The force of the blow to the vehicle caused Milanka to be killed on the spot, while her daughter and son sustained heavy injuries.

Krzywda admitted guilt at the scene of the crime, according to Milanka’s daughter Gradimirka Popovic. However, to this day, he has not taken responsibility for what he has done, probably because he was granted immunity. It likewise hurts that, even after a year, nobody from the American embassy has come forward with an apology, words of comfort, or any compassion.

Convicted Foreigners

According to last year’s data, 170 foreign prisoners served and are serving sentences in Serbia. Most of these individuals were imprisoned due to crimes concerning drugs and robberies. A majority of foreign citizens serving sentences come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, Austria, Macedonia, and the Netherlands.

As a rule, foreign nationals serve their sentences in Sremska Mitrovica Penitentiary, but also among other Serbian prisons.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well he should at least be banned from entering Serbia, as he is dangerous. The fact that he is a skilled and trained high school fencing champion, four years in a row, suggest he may have been wanting to try out his “skills” on a real life person and thought, if he could get away with it anywhere, it would be Serbia. And he was correct.
    Why was he in Serbia in the first place and how long had he been in Serbia before the stabbing incident?

    • As a friend of Lucas, this article is absurd. He may have been a skilled fencer, but that does not mean he was honing his skills so he could murder someone. Boxers and wrestlers don’t train so they can mug people on the street, they train because that is a sport they love. Lucas was in Belgrade for a holiday, which is in no way illegal, because he wanted to see your beautiful country. I was the group of 5 boys he was traveling with in the airport while I was on my way to Amsterdam, and they were visually excited to see Serbia. Furthermore, the reports fail to mention the fact that one of his friends sustained a severely broken nose (which serbian doctors PURPOSELY did not identify) and was the group was on their way back to the town they were studying after only one day in Belgrade. If a friend of mine had gotten seriously injured in a foreign country, I would also be on the first flight home with him. I’m sorry, but this article is missing a lot of facts (and has facts that are just plain incorrect), and that incriminates a dear friend of mine when the rationale behind it is not shown. But fine, ban him from Serbia. I’m sure neither him nor is friends will be back during their lifetimes after this truly traumatic experience.

      • What is truly fascinating is the fact that he got away with only an apology after stabbing that boy with a knife near his heart. I am speechless…

      • Yeah, you wanted to come to Serbia for one day. What exactly did they want to see in one day? And why was he asking for drugs from strangers? Isn’t Amsterdam known for its easy access to drugs?

        The fact that he was in Belgrade for such a short while and stabbed a young Serbian man within a minute of meeting him, does suggest he was up to something.

        Perhaps it was a dare – egged on by you and the others – you thought you could fly in to Serbia stab someone then fly out the next day.

        There was no reason for you to go to Belgrade of all places – why not Budapest, for example, which has much better architecture and sights (it wasn’t bombed up and destroyed by the Nazis and rebuilt with so much socrealistic architecture under Tito.)

      • The simple Fact is that he got away with attempted murder or, at the very least, Grievous Boldily Harm. In America he would have been locked up for years for such a crime. In Serbia, Serbs would have been locked up for such a crime. An American in Serbia clearly has the freedom to break the law a get away with it.

  2. The fact that the eyes are blacked out in the photo of the suspect tells it all (concerning freedom of the press under the present satrapy. We shall see whether people remember in April or May, or whether they continue to bow in the most pitiful, abject, and treasonous submission.

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