Alleged murderer fit to undergo trial
A man serving time for murder and facing charges of stabbing a woman to death 26 years ago will be standing trial after jurors yesterday found he was mentally fit to answer in court for the woman's death.
The jurors' verdict means that Silvio Mangion, 45, of Żejtun, will be tried for killing 54-year-old Rożina Zammit on February 8, 1984, in her Safi home where she was stabbed about 40 times.
Jurors in the one-day trial returned a verdict of seven votes to two concluding that Mr Mangion was fit to stand trial after he filed a plea of insanity.
This will be his second murder trial because he is already serving a 21-year jail term for the murder of his 74-year-old neighbour, Frenċ Cassar, of Żejtun, and the attempted murder of the victim's sister, Ġuża on August 18, 1988.
The jury heard three psychiatrists testify that Mr Mangion was mentally fit. Mark Xuereb, Joseph Vella Baldacchino and David Cassar said Mr Mangion suffered from chronic paranoid psychosis and his behaviour revealed that he had a low level of intelligence.
But, they added, he could understand and judge what was going on around him.
Mr Mangion had told them he was concerned about his trial because the consequences of its outcome troubled him.
He also told the experts he sometimes saw his deceased mother in his dreams but did not have any other delusional experiences.
"He knows what it means to plead guilty or not," they said, adding that Mr Mangion was on medical treatment that controlled his condition.
"Although the medication had side effects, it did not affect his mental functions, they said.
Mr Justice Joseph Galea Debono, who presided over the trial, explained to the jurors that they had to decide whether Mr Mangion understood the consequences of his actions today and not whether he was mentally fit when the alleged murder took place.
According to the bill of indictment, on which his trial will be based, Mr Mangion had followed Ms Zammit home after Mass. When she arrived, he knocked at her door and as soon as she opened, she started screaming and he stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and neck with a knife he had taken with him for that purpose.
He then burgled her house and took off with just under €500.
In 2005, while in jail for the murder of Mr Cassar, the police were given confidential information that he had told inmates he was involved in the death of Ms Zammit, 21 years earlier.
This had emerged in the testimony of Police Inspector Chris Pullicino in the compilation of evidence against Mr Mangion in May 2005.
Sometime later, Mr Mangion was also charged with complicity in the murder of Maria Stella Magrin on October 28, 1986 in Cospicua. That case is still pending.