- Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2019

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greek authorities said Friday they have arrested and charged a Bulgarian man over the suspected contract killing of a Greek Australian who was fatally shot outside his home in an Athens seaside suburb last year.

The suspect’s brother is also wanted on suspicion of having helped plan the murder of John Macris, 46, and driving the killer’s getaway car. The 33-year-old brother is believed to be in Bulgaria.

Police spokeswoman Ioanna Rotziokou said the suspects, whose names were not made public, spent nearly three weeks allegedly planning the murder.

“We have strong indications that … it was a contract killing,” she said. “They carefully organized the murder plan keeping the suspect under surveillance and using various rented vehicles.”

It was unclear who had ordered the murder in the Voula suburb. Macris, who was shot from close range outside his home as he left in his car, had earlier been the target of an alleged murder plot in Sydney.

Police said the brothers fled to Bulgaria a day after the Oct. 31 shooting, but the suspected murderer, aged 31, returned to Athens - possibly for another contract killing.

He was identified with the help of footage from cameras near the murder scene and arrested Tuesday after trying to escape a police blockade in southern Athens, during which he allegedly rammed a patrol car with his vehicle.

The man was charged with murder. His lawyer, Apostolos Lytras, said his client denied any wrongdoing.

Authorities say Macris had run-ins with Australian and Greek police in the past.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

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