As reported by LSM at the time, on May 30, 2018, Mārtiņš Bunkus was shot in broad daylight in his vehicle in Rīga. Though the police said they had a large amount of evidence within months, no arrests were made until four years later.
On November 24 last year, the State Police completed their investigation into one of the largest and most high-profile murder-for-hire cases in Latvian legal history.
Three people are charged with Bunkus' murder. Businessmen Aleksandrs Babenko and Mihails Uļmans are charged with ordering the contract killing while Russian citizen Viktor Krivoshev is charged with carrying it out.
Shortly before the court hearing held on Saturday, the mother of Mārtiņs Bunkus, Dace Bunkus, told Latvian Radio that the trial will show whether Latvia is a country bound by rule-of-law.
All three defendants participated remotely in today's court session. They had submitted a request to the court asking them to be allowed to participate in the trial in person in future, with Uļmans and Babenko complaining that the quality of the audio in their video links was unclear, and that they could not properly hear the provided simultaneous translation into Russian.
Their request was granted by Rīga City Court judge Sigita Dolniece.
The next court hearings are scheduled for June 13 and June 21. The case continues.