Source Pravda.Ru

Man suspected in Austrian grenade explosion pleaded innocent

A man facing murder charges in Austria for alleged involvement in a grenade explosion that killed his secretary pleaded innocent Tuesday, a court spokeswoman said.

The 39-year-old man pleaded innocent to charges of killing the 39-year-old woman, said Judge Alexandra Mathes, a spokeswoman for the court.

The suspect was the beneficiary in a Ђ300,000 (US$360,000) life insurance policy taken out by the victim. Neither has been identified by name, the AP says.

The victim's remains were discovered in September 2004, when a reporter for the weekly magazine News, accompanied by an agent with Austria's federal counterterrorism office, went to a meeting place where the victim had promised to lead them to a large cache of weapons, police said.

Her body was discovered near her minivan, which contained six unexploded hand grenades, an AK-47 automatic rifle, a Skorpion semiautomatic pistol, a Glock handgun and ammunition, police said.

The suspect told the court Tuesday that he had organized the meeting with the reporter and the agent to get rid of the weapons, and that the woman's death was an accident, the Austria Press Agency reported.

Prosecutors, however, said he had planned the killing, and had done research on the Internet, before carrying it out.

T.E.