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15 Years Is Sentence in Murder of Bishop in Turkey

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – A Turkish court sentenced Murat Altun to 15 years in prison for the 2010 murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia.

Altun, now 29, had been the bishop’s driver. He was arrested and confessed almost immediately after the murder, although in the months after his arrest, he gave several different explanations for why he stabbed and almost decapitated the bishop.

At the end of his trial Jan. 22, Altun said he was sorry for his actions and said Bishop Padovese was “the last person I would have ever wanted to harm.”

Altun’s lawyers tried to argue that their client was mentally ill, according to AsiaNews, a Rome-based Catholic news agency. However, the agency said, the court accepted the findings of a panel of doctors who examined Altun in 2011 and said he was capable of understanding his actions and their consequences.

Bishop Padovese, who was president of the Turkish bishops’ conference at the time, died June 3, 2010, in Iskenderun, Turkey, his residence as apostolic vicar of Anatolia.

In the days immediately after the murder, newspapers quoted Bishop Padovese’s secretary and an official at the Turkish embassy to the Holy See as saying that Altun was suffering from mental problems and that he had been seeing a psychiatrist.

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