Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Rauðagerði Murder

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

The Reykjavík District Court sentenced Angjelin Sterkaj to 16 years in prison for the murder of Armando Bequirai this morning, RÚV reports. The other three defendants in the case were acquitted. After police presented him with evidence of his guilt, Angjelin confessed to the murder, which he claimed was committed in self-defence.

Armando Bequirai was shot to death outside his home on Rauðagerði street in Reykjavík on February 13, 2021. He was in his 30s and left behind a wife and two children, who were in the home at the time the murder took place. The police investigation in the case was the most extensive in Icelandic history, and suspicion soon arose that the murder was part of a settlement between criminal groups, domestic as well as international.

Deputy District Prosecutor Kolbrún Benediktsdóttir demanded that the sentence for Angjelin should be between 16 and 20 years, arguing that the murder was a well-organised execution. The three other defendants, Claudia Sofia Coelho Carvahlo, Shpetim Qerimi and Selivrada Mura, all pleaded not guilty and said they did not know what Angjelin had intended to do in Rauðagerði.

Angjelin was also sentenced to pay ISK 4 million [$31,000, €27,000] in damages to Armando’s widow, Þóranna Helga Gunnarsdóttir, as well as ISK 27 million [$209,000, €180,000] due to loss of income, and just over ISK 500,000 [$3,900, €3,300] for funeral costs. He was also sentenced to pay damages to Armando’s parents and his two children, as well as the legal fees of the defence.

Proceedings in the “Rauðagerði” Trial Begin Today

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

The principal proceedings in the so-called Rauðagerði trial begin today. One of the four defendants, Angelin Sterkjaj, has confessed to shooting and killing Armando Beqirai in February of this year.

Witness testimony

The court will hear testimony from four defendants, among them, Angelin Sterkaj – an Albanian male in his twenties who has been living in Iceland for almost a decade – who confessed to shooting and killing Beqirai outside his home in Rauðagerði in February. According to Sterkaj’s confession, the murder was motivated by “personal reasons” (and is believed to be linked to a settlement between criminal groups.)

The other three defendants, two men and one woman, have all pleaded not guilty to their involvement in the murder. A police officer will also give testimony. As reported by RÚV, an inordinate number of interpreters will assist in the proceedings (witnesses and defendants hail from Romania, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Albania, Serbia, Lithuana, Belarus, and Latvia).

Shot nine times

In what has been one of the most extensive police investigations in history, the murder of Armando Beqirai on February 13 led to myriad arrests. Early on in this investigation, fourteen people were given the legal status of accused, and the defendants complicated the police inquiry by altering their statements during interrogations. Beqirai was shot nine times, in his head and torso. The police later recovered the murder weapon, a 22 caliber Sig Sauer pistol, which had been tossed into the Kollafjörður bay.