In Samos, at the beginning of August, a thriller took place that has disturbed the peaceful inhabitants of the island.
They executed a professional driver of the area in cold blood, setting him to death.
Leonidas Hatzimichalis, 75 years old, father of three children, was murdered in the early hours of Friday, August 5, in a deserted location, on a mountain near Psili Ammos, while he was emptying sewage from his tank truck.
The gruesome sight was witnessed by his son, who was looking for him and found him dead at 07:20 in the morning. He was shot while in the driver’s seat.
Despite being shot near the heart, he found the strength to open the door, but just a few meters down he left his last breath.
What did the victim reveal to his girlfriend a few days ago…
The unfortunate head of the family had confided in a family friend everything that had been happening to him lately. He had received threats on his life in serious incidents just two months before his murder.
But he asked her not to tell anyone about it, because he would try to find the solution himself.
“We were sitting and talking with Leonidas. I have known him for over thirty years. Before he was killed, he had told me that he had been molested three times. The first time, he told me that lights were shone on him and shots were fired into the air. He also heard speeches, that is, the perpetrator was not one. This incident happened at the point where he was emptying the sewage with the tank. After it happened twice, he told me he paid someone to guard chilies and find the tip. Last time, he didn’t have time to come to collect our sewage. They killed him…”, said the visibly disturbed witness and added:
“I had told him to report it to the police, but he was afraid of something. His mind didn’t go anywhere, he always tried not to disturb or create problems for others.”
Another important element in the case is that two months after the murder, Leonidas Hatzimichalis’ son received an anonymous phone call from a woman who gave him information about the perpetrator and prevented him from contacting the police.
The son: He was stopped and they shot him…
From the scene of the crime, the victim’s son spoke to the TV crew of “Tunnel” about the horrific sight he witnessed.
His father maintained the family business with earthworks for forty years and in the last years they worked together. He also had a tank and emptied the sewage from shops on the island.
“My mother called me worried because she hadn’t come home that night. I came straight here to see what had happened”, says Stelios Hatzimichalis.
“I found him in the back of the truck upside down. The windshield was broken and I knew immediately what had happened. It had two bullet holes in a straight line thirty points apart. The driver’s door was open and the engine off. His cell phone was in the truck, but that in itself was strange, because he didn’t usually take it with him. The weapon used to kill him was a double-barreled one,” he said.
“They had threatened him before the murder…”
The son of the victim spoke to the “Tunel” reporter who was in Samos, about the incidents of intimidation with shots that he had received as a warning, just a few days before he was murdered.
“He told me about the shots he thought were fired at him at close range. He didn’t get to see anything. This was all a warning. He had nothing to hide, nor was he afraid. Unfortunately, there are no cameras in the area and there are many escape routes in all directions of the island,” he stressed.
“We saw a car speeding up the mountain after the crime…”
The residents of Paleokastro Samos are still shocked by the brutal murder of the businessman.
“It was sudden, unexpected. We have been waiting for your show to come to find a way out. We are shocked because such things do not happen on our island. There is fear because when a murder takes place, a few months pass and the killer walks free, it certainly affects some people negatively,” a local shopkeeper told “Tunel”.
Mrs. Stella is the owner of a tavern in Psili Ammos, she knew the victim for decades and worked with him, as he emptied her sewage. That night they had a date, but Leonidas Hatzimichalis did not show up.
“The whole world is curious why they killed him. Since not many pass through this road anymore. In the afternoon, before the bad thing happened, he had come to Psili Ammos and emptied the sewage from a neighboring house, and then he was to come to me. In the morning, my daughter who works in the municipality picked me up and told me that it was heard that a truck driver was killed in Mykali. My hands were cut. I say “Leonidas”, she said agitatedly.
Another resident of the area, afraid of what is happening, told “Tunnel” what he saw that fateful night.
“We were sitting with a group and we saw a car on the mountain above running at high speed. It was a raised car and came from the scene of the crime. There are many scenarios. Possibly from the sewage that was flying or he might have stumbled upon some event that he shouldn’t have seen and they got him out of the way,” concluded the witness.
“It’s only me who have a permit for sewage on the island…”
The only tank owner who has the legal license to empty sewage on the island, spoke to the “Tunnel” reporter about his “competitor”, who he says was unaware of his existence.
“I didn’t even know this man. I’ve been doing this job since ’91 and I didn’t know there was anyone doing anything like this. I found out after a holiday. I mainly work on public projects, but I used to go to Vathi and Karlovasi and Psili Ammos to serve private individuals. I didn’t know it carries sewage, I found out suddenly. Only I have the permit for sewage on the island, but I don’t want to get involved… After the incident I learned that another person also took a sewage tank. I was also called by the Police to ask me what I know”, said the witness.
To the journalist’s question about whether he knew that the victim had been threatened with shooting before he was murdered, he answered:
“I do not know. I look at my house, my work and nothing else. I didn’t even know his name. I knew someone in Paleokastro had hoes and loaders. They say he was a nuisance because he threw sewage here and there. I don’t know that though. If it was true, they would have made a formal complaint. They wouldn’t leave him like that. Could this whole set up be done for sewage? The things are simple. A lot goes through the mind”, he concluded.
“I have nothing to do with them…”
Another businessman who is active in the same business as the victim, spoke to the journalist of the show about what is heard in the “square”, but also about the relationship he had with him.
“He was an old colleague of my father’s. We didn’t have a bully. I knew the man. I don’t know if he was threatened or if he was given warning shots before he was killed, as it sounds. I have nothing to do with these things,” he stressed.
He describes the unfortunate Leonidas as a good man, with whom no one had a problem.
“For so many years we have never had a problem. I had him as my father… Once we needed something. He served us and when he also asked us for help, we also served him,” concluded the witness.
“We are afraid that they will kill my brother too…”
From her father’s house, where the unfortunate victim lived before he was murdered, the eldest daughter of the family, Petroula, spoke to the camera of “Tunel” about the carter of death that was set up for him.
“His mind was initially going to competitors, that they want to get him off the truck, because that was his worship, his life. If he was a competitor, we fear for our brother as well. On the morning of Friday, August 5, he found him. In the afternoon of the previous day, my mother and my other sister, who were at home, had seen him. In general he was calm, nothing bothered him. He went to a friend of his and then went to empty himself with the tank. It arrived with the tank at Psili Ammos, was emptied by our best man and from there on we lost contact. My folks were waiting for him, but he didn’t come back. The place where he was murdered is desolate. Hardly anyone saw anything. We don’t know who he may have spoken to before the incident. We have heard so much, so many things. This is another reason why we want all this to be clarified, because we are also a small society”, said the victim’s daughter.
“We were telling him to stop with the sewage…”
Petroula, daughter from the victim’s wife’s first marriage, spoke movedly about the man she called “Daddy”, as she met him as her father, at the age of just five.
“He had told us about three incidents of intimidation, which happened from the end of June until shortly before he was murdered. In the second incident, he heard two people who were on motorcycles and speaking Greek. It was dark and they fired into the air. The third is with the powerful headlights. It must have been a 4×4 or some other tall vehicle, which was too strong for him. He turned the night into day to probably get him off the road,” he added.
Speaking about her father’s murder, she said:
“This man is walking around free and who tells me that tomorrow – the day after tomorrow he won’t kill my brother too…”
“He was a good family man. We were telling him to stop with the sewage. Let the perpetrators be found so that his soul can rest and we can rest too,” she concluded emotionally charged.