Heparin killer to spend rest of life in Valdice Prison

Veronika Suchá
8. 7. 2008 8:20
It is one of the toughest prisons in ČR
Petr Zelenka (in the middle) at the trial
Petr Zelenka (in the middle) at the trial | Foto: Aktuálně.cz

Praha - Petr Zelenka, who was sentenced for the murder of seven people, will most likely spend the rest of his life in Valdice Prison.

According to information  available to Aktuálně.cz, the decision has come from Prison Service HQ. Zelenka was sentenced to life-imprisonment for killing seven people and attempting to kill ten others with the blood diluting drug called Heparin. He worked as a nurse in a hospital in a small town of Havlíčkův Brod in the Vysočina region.

The decision to admit Zelenka to Valdice has so far been the authorities' last step in the case. It is not yet clear whether the trial will continue at the Supreme Court or not.

"We have not yet made a decision about this. We still haven't gottten the written protocols, we want to go through the Supreme Court's argumentation in detail," Zelenka's attorney Jan Herout said.

It depends on Zelenka if he decides to file an extraordinary appeal. According to the code of criminal procedure, as a someone with a life sentence he automatically has the right to do so.

Read more: Heparin killer found guilty, receives life sentence

However, even if Zelenka and his attorney appeal the case, they will probably not be very successful at the Supreme Court. Completely new evidence related to the case would have to be revealed.

Experts: Zelenka is like a backer

Zelenka has pleaded guilty several times. Both of the previous trials confirmed his guilt and the new psychiatric evaluation ordered by the attorney for the appeal did not help very much, either. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Petr Zelenka (with back to the camera) talks to his lawyer Jan Herout
Petr Zelenka (with back to the camera) talks to his lawyer Jan Herout | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

In the evaluation, the experts compared Zelenka to bettor watching a race. "If ´his horse´ wins, i.e. the patient survives, he is happy. However, if he dies, bad feelings get quickly overpowered by the excitement from another race", psychiatrist Jaroslav M. Kašparů wrote in the final assesment.

This psychiatric evaluation contributed to the fact that even the failure of Zlenka's case at the court of appeals.

"The Czech judiciary has not dealt with such a case since World War II," Prague-based Supreme Court judge Jiří Lněnička said.

Beside Zelenka, former General Manager of the Havlíčkův Brod Hospital, Josef Pejchl, is being tried for the murders. He is being accused of not sueing anybody because of the suspicious deaths. Zelenka will probably be a witness in his trial over the summer months.

Read more: Heparin killer blames madness, retracts confession

Superb cuisine in Valdice

And how will Zelenka live in Valdice? The dimensions of a lifer's cell are three to four metres, there is a steel bed in the cell and a table.

Guarded heavily at all times
Guarded heavily at all times | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

The lifers go on an outing for an hour a day, and once a month they can have a visitor. The visit may not exceed three hours.

Zelenka will have a chance to work while in prison, since he owes millions in compensation to the families of the victims. However, the trouble is that lifers can only work in their cells. Their profits are fairly small.

According to the convicts, the only advantage of Valdice Prison, which is among the toughest jails in the Czech Republic, is its cuisine.

"Of all the prisons I know, they serve the best food here. We get steaks, chicken, Segedin goulash and also good soups," Jiří Kajínek, another infamous Czech murderer, told tabloid daily Aha! some time ago.

A small relief in the tough conditions could also be the possibility of education which Zelenka could use.

Zelenka will be allowed to apply for parole no sooner than in 2038. He will be 62 at that point.


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