Ivan Paška, who stabbed the driver of the Bolt in Prague’s Černý Most housing estate and drove off with his car, is to serve 17.5 years in prison according to Thursday’s extrajudicial verdict.
Expulsion from the Czech Republic for an indefinite period is also part of the verdict. A 27-year-old man from Ukraine confessed to the pre-planned act, but could not explain why he committed it. He should pay almost a million crowns as compensation to the survivors.
State attorney Taťána Prici asked for 18 years in prison for the man for selfish murder committed in a particularly painful and brutal manner. She emphasized that the attacked driver was aware of the brutal attack the whole time – he was still talking to a witness on the street who called the rescuers to him.
On the afternoon of November 22, 2022, Paška asked a passer-by in the center of the capital to summon a Bolt car. He was taken to Bryksova Street in Prague 9, where he attacked the 30-year-old driver from the back seat with a knife and during the ensuing struggle inflicted dozens of wounds, mainly on the face, head and neck. Among other things, he severed his spinal cord and hit his carotid artery. He then pulled the driver out of the car and threw him on the road where the man died. Paška headed to the gas station with the car to wash the blood off the car. The police arrested him there and the court sent him to custody, where the young man is still.
The murdered man had a small daughter, his partner was expecting another child at the time of the murder. Pašku repeatedly stated at the Prague Municipal Court that he did not understand his act. He mentioned that he intended to sell the driver’s car for parts. But he also said that he was afraid that someone was following him. “I am very sorry for what I did. I don’t know how to fix it all. I killed him because I wanted to go to jail. I didn’t know what schizophrenia was, but apparently it is schizophrenia. Maybe it will be possible to get me to the hospital and it will be easier for me,” he said in court on Thursday.
The young man’s statement sounded confused and incoherent even before. His defense attorneys, with the help of an expert opinion, questioned the man’s sanity – both at the time and at the time of the crime. They proposed for him to waive punishment and place him in protective detention. They also rejected the man’s deportation, saying that he spent most of his life in the Czech Republic and has a family background there.
Pašku has Ukrainian citizenship and grew up in Ukraine, but was born in Jihlava, where his parents ran a business. He said he had a history of drug problems. He worked on construction sites in the Czech Republic. A few weeks before the crime, he broke into a convenience store and poured a heart and the name of the girl he once loved out of the jars.
Jiří Sasák attacked another driver of the Bolt transport company with a knife earlier in Prague, who also wanted to seize his car. He is serving 15 years in prison for attempted murder, and the justice system also ordered him to receive institutional alcohol treatment and psychiatric treatment. At the time, the High Court stated in the case that taxi drivers are a very vulnerable group. They cannot choose who they load into their car and in the event of an attack, they have very little chance of defending themselves: usually the attackers are behind them, they are restricted by their seat belts and they have to focus on driving.