National

Man jailed over Adelaide cold case killing

By AAP Newswire

New Zealand man Paul Maroroa fatally shot Robert Sabeckis at an Adelaide beach, fled to his homeland and escaped apprehension for almost two decades.

Now he could be free in little more than four years.

Mararoa was jailed on Friday after being found guilty of the cold-case killing of 42-year-old Mr Sabeckis at Maslin Beach in January 2000.

The 45-year-old admitted fatally shooting Mr Sabeckis in the chest after a struggle over a gun but argued he acted in self-defence.

A Supreme Court jury found him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, with Justice Sam Doyle jailing him for nine years with a non-parole period of six years.

Considering time already served, he could be free in early 2024.

Maroroa fired three shots at Mr Sabeckis, one hitting him in the arm and another, fatally, in the chest.

Justice Doyle said he would sentence Maroroa on the basis that he acted in excessive self-defence and that his decision to shoot the victim was spontaneous rather than premeditated.

But he said he did not accept some of Maroroa's evidence at the trial related to how he obtained the gun and assertions that Mr Sabeckis had threatened to rape and kidnap him.

The judge said the fact he did not render any assistance to Mr Sabeckis and ultimately fled the country, returning to New Zealand, also went against him.

"There is no doubt you shot Mr Sabeckis dead in the Maslin Beach car park," Justice Doyle told Maroroa.

"You fired three shots from the shotgun that you took to the car park that night.

"You did not make any attempt to render any assistance to him.

"Having shot Mr Sabeckis twice, you left him to die in the car park from the horrific wounds you had inflicted."

Justice Doyle said beyond the basic facts it was difficult to shed any light on the circumstances behind the killing, though he described some of Maroroa's evidence at the trial "implausible".

The judge said Maroroa also took steps to cover up his offending.

It was only when he was arrested in New Zealand on an unrelated matter that he was linked to the SA killing through a DNA match.

Outside court, Vilija Sabeckis said no sentence would bring her uncle back.

"But we can take some comfort that this ordeal is finally over," she said.

"Importantly, someone has been held accountable for my uncle's unlawful killing in such horrific circumstances.

"Today, after more than 20 years, justice has been done for Robert."