A 21-year-old man suspected of the rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova has admitted that he attacked her.
Handcuffed and surrounded by police officers, Severin Krasimirov spoke to reporters inside a courtroom on Friday where he appeared for a custody hearing in Ruse, northern Bulgaria.
“I do not know what happened. I cannot remember everything. I went there and I slapped her, she fell. I want to move on but she grabbed me,” Krasimirov told reporters.
“Yes, I am guilty, I am very sorry. I cannot believe that I have done that,” Krasimirov said in a wavering voice when reporters asked whether he plans to tell the court he is guilty.
If convicted, Krasimirov faces a prison sentence of 10-20 years for the rape and a possible life sentence for the murder.
The body of the 30-year-old television presenter was found near a jogging path along the Danube in Ruse on October 6.
Authorities said she died from blows to the head and suffocation, and that she was raped after her death.
Prosecutors say there was no evidence her death was related to her work and pointed to a random sexual crime, though they said they are investigating all possibilities.
Investigators say DNA found on the victim matches Krasimirov. They have also collected additional evidence against him, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said on Friday.
Krasimirov was arrested in Germany on October 9 and was extradited to Bulgaria on Wednesday.
Asked by reporters what punishment he thought he deserved, Krasimirov said he would accept “whatever I get, even if it’s life in prison, I will serve”.
Marinova’s killing shocked Bulgaria and drew international condemnation amid concerns that it may have been linked to her work as a journalist.
An episode of her programme that aired on September 30 featured a discussion with two journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been investigating alleged corruption and fraud.