A four-minute operation that ended with two men dead in Sliema last week has left the nation shocked and confused.
But thanks to Malta police’s stellar work, we’ve already reached major breakthroughs. An alleged mastermind has been charged, another suspect arrested, potential murder weapon seized and this is just over a week since the fatal night.
While the investigation continues, it is worth noting, as Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa pointed out this week, that the five other murders this year have so far all led to prosecutions.
Here’s a reminder of the five other victims of murder that mark 2020.
1. Chantelle Chetcuti, 2nd February
A 34-year-old mother of two children was repeatedly stabbed in a brutal attack out a Żabbar bar and died fighting for her life in hospital.
After an argument erupted outside the bar in question, ex-partner Justin Borg, a Ħal Safi man, stabbed Chetcuti with a knife to the head and fled the scene. He later turned himself in to police headquarters in Floriana covered in blood with wounds on his hands.
In 2013, Chetcuti instituted a domestic violence court case against him but this was dropped after she chose not to testify.
Justin Borg has been indicted for the murder.
2. Amoubi Joseph Ezechi, 14th March
A grocery dispute turned fatal after a fight broke out between father-to-be Amoubi Jospeh Ezechi and his roommate Innocent Okwudili. Tensions reached a climax in Qawra that night that led Okwudili to stab Amoubi in the chest.
The 37-year-old Nigerian would die of his wound shortly after hospital admission.
Amoubi’s wife Harmony gave birth to their first and only child that same night.
3. Victor Mckeon, 17th March
In a brutal discovery, police found a body in several bags in a Santa Lucija apartment after residents reported a foul stench. It was later identified to be the apartment’s owner, 62-year-old Victor Mckeon.
Six days later, a 37-year-old Libyan man who was also living in the apartment, was named the main suspect of the murder. He was arrested in an escape attempt at Casablanca Airport and extradited to Malta to face court charges.
4. Saviour Gaffarena, 29th July
Saviour Gaffarena along with his younger cousin Vince were shot in a place called Ħal Millieri, Qrendi, sometime after the annual firework festival nearby.
At least three shots were fired that fatal night. Saviour was pronounced dead at the scene after a bullet to the head while his 17-year-old cousin, who sustained shots to the chest and face, managed to drive to Mqabba and was found injured in the car with him.
Two 18-year-old roommates, Leon Debono and Owen Schembri were arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder in what police believe to be a drug-trafficking related homicide.
A murder weapon was found hidden inside a tree in a Kirkop field.
Both pleaded not guilty.
5. Antoine Dalli, 7th August
Antoine Dalli arrived outside his father’s home in Gudja on a bicycle. According to his father Salvu, also known as ‘Danger Man’, his son began offending him outside his house, forcefully opened the door and tried to attack him upon entry into his bedroom.
Salvu then shot his 37-year-old son in the stomach.
Antoine was found dead in the shower tray of the bathroom. The sink was still running.
In court, Salvu recalled how his relationship with his son turned sour over the past months and had even a filed police report in July warning that he had relapsed on drugs.
On the day of the shooting, police received another report from Silvan Dalli, one of Antoine’s brothers, saying that Antoine was threatening him.
Salvu has pleaded not guilty to wilful homicide.
6. Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski, 18th August
Malta’s latest shocking case of murder happened just over a week ago when art collectors Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski were shot dead at home in a four-minute operation.
Police have made incredible breakthroughs since that fatal night.
Two suspects have been arrested, the getaway car was discovered and a dramatic Floriana raid led to alleged mastermind Daniel Muka’s charge in court.
Another man named Viktor Dragomanski was arrested at a Gżira hotel last night.
The investigation is still underway, but Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ explained that theft could be a motive behind the killing. Other sources said it could be commissioned by an international criminal gang.
This comes after police discovered stolen items and a professional frequency-disrupting device in the stolen getaway car. Some of the gold the couple proudly adorned on their necks hasn’t been retrieved so far.
Tag someone who needs to read this