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American Scientist's Horrific Murder Recounted at Trial on Crete

Dr. Suzanne Eaton, who was raped and murdered on Crete in July of 2019. File photo

The testimony given by the family of Dr. Suzanne Eaton, the 60-year-old American researcher who was raped and murdered on the Greek island of Crete in July of 2019, deeply shocked those attending the trial in Rethymo, Crete on Tuesday.
Eaton, originally from California, was living and working in at the Max-Planck Institute in Desden, Germany when she was killed. The mother of two sons, she was married to a British scientist.
Her family members, who had gone to Crete after the crime occurred, returned recently in order to testify at the trial. They had said previously that they wanted the world to remember the molecular biologist “as an acclaimed scientist, talented athlete, musician and beloved mother.”
Husband unable to work
The sister of the murdered woman testified that Eaton’s husband is still receiving psychological help due to the trauma of the crime that was perpetrated on his wife and that he “cannot work” even now, a year and a half after the grisly incident.
Giving her testimony through tears, Julie Eaton told the court that life at home for Dr. Eaton’s family is still extremely difficult, with no one able to accept the fact that she is no longer in their lives.
Speaking of the great help which her sister had given her after the death of her own daughter from cancer six years ago, Eaton said “It was very difficult for me to be here but I came to testify about …how loving my sister was. She was a wonderful wife, mother and sister. I also came to thank the authorities and all the people here who helped with the investigation.”
When asked about the murderes biologist’s husband, Eaton stressed that he is still receiving psychological support. “It is difficult for him to return to work. He is being psychologically supported, but judging by my own experience with the death of my daughter, nothing will be the same. Your whole world is changing,” she explained.
Pantelis Zelios, the 28-year-old defendant, admitted to prosecutors last year at his arraignment that he had intentionally run over Eaton with his car in order to disable and sexually violate her.
He had related calmly and in horrific detail that he had raped and killed Susan Eaton and then taken the authorities to the cave where he had thrown her body. This was the same abandoned WWII-era Nazi bunker that Zelios had shown in previous videos he had posted on social media, featuring bones, some of them appearing to be human femur bones, leaning up against the walls.
After being formally charged at the hearing with both rape and premeditated murder, Zelios had replied “I accept what is valid.”
Testimony from men who located Eaton’s body
The men who were the first to uncover the American scientist’s body testified as to what they saw at the abandoned bunker.
Describing the moment they located her, one of the men told the court “We did not think she was a human being. We could not stay on the spot. We panicked and ran to alert the police immediately.”
Strict security measures at courthouse
The security at the courthouse hearing the Eaton case is being described as “draconian,” with police carrying out thorough checks on all those entering the court. Among them were foreign journalists who are covering the trial.
The accused’s clear admission of rape led to the charge being leveled against him but Zelios’ lawyer maintains that the laboratory tests undertaken by the authorities do not substantiate the charge.
Local media outlet Cretapost has reported that the accused plans to categorically deny the charges.
“It emerged from the confession of the accused. The forensic report cannot reach the time of the victim’s death while at the same time there is a conflict between the laboratory results regarding the rape. All this will be analyzed and will be seen in court,” the defense lawyer commented to reporters.
Grisly confession
The 28-year-old admitted that he had come upon the 60-year-old as she had been jogging in Kolimbari, Chania, and followed her. He then intentionally rammed her with his car in order to disable her, with the intention of raping her.
The court read out the grisly details in their charges today. “He hit her with the left side of his vehicle. The woman fell to her knees and then he (hit) her again, on the head. She fell to the ground and her body went under the car. He … locked her in the front wheels. He saw her severely injured. He had mutilated her ear. She …had her eyes open,” the prosecutor said.
While still alive, Eaton was placed inside the trunk of Zelios’ vehicle and he drove to the area of the abandoned bunker. The court then heard the disturbing accounts of her multiple rapes.
The court also recounted that the alleged rapist and murderer threw Eaton, unconscious, from a height of seven meters into the bunker. It was at that point that Zelios allegedly strangled her, and she died of suffocation.
“The accused was fully aware of his actions. His claim that he practiced black magic and “Solomonic magic,” and that the latter pushed him into action, gives the impression of a mental disorder,” the court explained in today’s testimony.
However, prosecutors said, “it is impossible (for the perpetrator) not to realize what he was doing” since his movements were purposeful and “methodical.”

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