Prosecution and defense attorneys wrapped up their arguments this week in the case of a Lithuanian man charged with murdering the eight-year-old daughter of his former partner, also Lithuanian. Known as the “Monika” case, based on the little girl’s name, it has commanded widespread media attention in Norway, not least because of how police botched their initial investigation.
The strangled body of Monika Sviglinskaja was found by her mother when she returned home from work in Sotra, Hordaland County, in November 2011. Police initially claimed the child had committed suicide.
Her mother’s protests were largely overlooked until a whistleblower inside the police complained to superiors of a poor police investigation. The 34-year-old defendant, who had long been targeted as a suspect by Monika’s mother, was arrested after a new investigation linked him to the crime based on DNA and threats he allegedly made against Monika’s mother.
The man’s defense attorney claims the case against his client is based purely on speculation and that there was no evidence to place his client at the scene. The DNA findings, he claimed, could have come from the time his client lived in the home.
Prosecutors are seeking an 18-year prison term under special custody terms that could keep the defendant in jail for life. A verdict is expected in late July.