Former NHL Draft Pick Ladislav Scurko Gets 8 Years in Prison for Murdering Referee Marek Liptaj

Ladislav Scurko, a professional ice hockey player accused of killing referee Marek Liptaj back in January of 2008, was convicted of murder and sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday.

Scurko was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. Shortly after that, as per the always-reliable Wikipedia, he was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the CHL Import Draft.

Considered to be a promising young prospect at the time, Scurko would go on to have a moderately successful few seasons in the Western Hockey League right up until 2007 – at which point he packed up his toys and headed back to Europe.

Once in Europe, according to Travis Hughes, he played a total of 49 games with HC Kosice and junior club HK VTJ Trebisov during the 2007-08 season.

In January 2008, due to what was initially believed to be a monetary dispute, Scurko stabbed Liptag -- who he had been living with -- 14 times and hid his body. His crime went undetected until December of that same year when the referees's remains were found in a Slovakian forest.

Scurko confessed to the crime almost instantly – claiming that he had killed Liptaj after the ref moved into his home under false pretenses. Per Scurko’s version of events at the time, Liptaj originally told him that he was being treated for cancer, which presumably is why he was allowed to move in. Then, when Scurko learned that Liptaj didn’t in fact have cancer, he and Liptaj got into an argument that ended with him stabbing the referee.

Fourteen times.

This already weird story took a turn for the even weirder when, last July, Scurko claimed that he had been tricked by police into his earlier confession and recanted his original statement. That led to an extended court battle which ultimately lasted until today.

Today, more than four years after the murder initially took place, Scurko finally got his sentence: eight years in prison.

How did the powers that be decide on eight years when the prosecution was reportedly looking for at least 15? Via Korzar (by way of Yahoo! Sports' Sean Leahy):

The conclusions of the psychiatric examinations Ščurko act committed 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 by a prisoner. The sentences him among the facilities for imprisonment with moderate surveillance.

And thus ends one of the more bizarre hockey tales you will ever hear about.

(Kudos Yahoo! Sports, Broad Street Hockey, Wikipedia)

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