Gönay Öğmen has been given an aggravated life sentence by the İstanbul 1st Criminal High Court on Monday for killing his sister, Sonay Vural, and brother-in-law, Zekeriya Vural.
The young couple was found dead in their car in İstanbul's Fatih district 10 days after they had been married. It was later discovered that they had been murdered by the bride's brother because of religious differences.
Sonay Öğmen (age 26), whose family was Armenian, married Zekeriya Vural (age 29) against her family's wishes. The young couple was found dead in their automobile, each with a bullet to the forehead.
Police later established that the couple had been killed by someone who sitting in the back seat of the vehicle and concluded that the murderer was someone they knew. Sonay's brother later confessed and said in his testimony to police, “We didn't want that groom.”
Investigators said they were able to capture Öğmen because of his hobby of pigeon keeping. The suspect was detained at the Pigeon Lovers Association in İstanbul with the gun believed to have been used in the murder on his person.
In his initial testimony, Öğmen had said: “Our family didn't want them to get married. We met in a café to talk. Zekeriya told me: ‘This is over. We are married. Don't stand in the way.' Then we got in the car. I shot both of them.”
Vural's uncle, Cemal Vural, speaking to the press a week after the murder, said: “Sonay's brother had invited them to dinner. It was a trap, apparently. She was Christian. Her family was against the marriage because he is Muslim. Actually, Sonay warned her family a week ago that she'd take her own life.”