Former Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Ladislav Scurko has been convicted of murder in Slovakia and was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday. Scurko, who was a sixth-round pick in 2004 for the Broad Street Bullies, reportedly confessed to the grisly murder of referee Mark Liptag.
Liptag's partially decomposed corpse was discovered in a shallow grave in a Slovakian forest, reports CSNPhilly.com. The killing occurred in 2007 and Liptag's body was not found until a year later. Scurko stabbed Liptag 14 times over a financial dispute and police believe he acted in the heat of the moment, not a premeditated murder.
Scurko was initially arrested in April 2009 and spent two and a half years in prison in his homeland, but then he was released in December 2011 with a new trial pending. After being released from prison Scurko signed with the third division team HK Slovan Gelnica, according to Puck Daddy.
He received the minimum punishment allowable for this crime. The prosecution was seeking a sentence of at least 15 years and some sources expected he could receive as many as 20.
Liptag lived with Scurko for a time, and Scurko once alleged that Liptag lied to him about having cancer. When it was revealed Liptag had lied, Scurko claimed he demanded the man get out of his home. It remains unclear whether that story is true.
Scurko played center with Seattle and Tri-City of the Western Hockey League. It is unclear as to whether the Flyers considered him in their roster plans but he never played for the team.
He also competed in the U18 World Championships twice for Slovakia and twice in the U20 World Championships.
Puck Daddy also provides a translation from a Slovakian publication on the case:
The conclusions of the psychiatric examinations [are that] Scurko acted in a state of diminished sanity. The court considered a mitigating factor and therefore imposed a sentence at the lower rate.
The court imposed a protective psychiatric outpatient treatment ... with moderate surveillance.