Rome, Oct 14 (EFE).- Midway through the first day of their trial for the 2017 car-bomb murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio changed their pleas to guilty Friday and were each sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Alfred, 57, and George, 59, have been in custody since December 2017.
The brothers faced the prospect of life behind bars if they were convicted of planting the bomb that killed the 53-year-old mother of three on Oct. 16, 2017.
The Degiorgios proclaimed their innocence at the start of the proceedings in Valletta’s central court, but on returning from an extended break, each man went before Judge Edwina Grima and entered a guilty plea.
“A break in the clouds,” the victim’s son Paul Caruana Galizia tweeted after witnessing the dramatic turn of events along with his two brothers and Daphne’s husband.
On her website, Running Commentary, Daphne Caruana Galizia reported on corruption among the political and business elite in Malta, a European Union member-state that has long been a global financial haven.
She leveled accusations against top aides to the then-prime minister of the Mediterranean island nation, Joseph Muscat, who stepped down under pressure in 2019 amid protests spurred by the arrest of politically connected property magnate Yorgen Fenech on charges of masterminding the assassination of the journalist.
Fenech is awaiting trial and another conspirator, Vincent Muscat, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison in February 2019.
Taxi driver Melvin Theuma, who admitted acting as an intermediary among the conspirators, received a pardon in exchange for testimony against Fenech and the other defendants. EFE gsm/dr