Ladislav Scurko, 2004 NHL draft pick, playing again after murder charges

Please recall back in April 2009 the story of Ladislav Scurko, the Slovak player who was charged with murdering referee Marek Liptaj and burying his body in a forest.

After spending two and a half years in prison, Scurko was released last month with a new trial pending. While out of prison, he signed to play with his hometown club, HK Slovan Gelnica, a third division team in Slovakia. In six games, Scurko scored 11 times and finished with 12 points before moving on to HK Trebisov of the Slovak 1 Liga

Scurko originally confessed to the crime after claiming that Liptaj had moved into his home and later lied about having cancer. The 2004 sixth round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, who also spent three years in the Western Hockey League with Seattle and Tri-City, tried to get Liptaj move out upon learning the cancer story was lie, but a dispute during a drive ended with Scurko allegedly stabbing him 19 times with a kitchen knife.

This past July, Scurko recanted his statement and claimed duplicity by local police forced him to confess and that he was intoxicated as his club at the time, HC Kosice, had just won the league championship.


Scurko insisted he stands by his last statement where he identified two men, whom he saw there (at the crime scene) for the first time in his life. "He just saw them putting Liptaj's body into his trunk. Then one of the men commanded him to drive to Kezmarok."

"His associate followed them in his own car. Somewhere between Huncovce and Velka Lomnica they stopped and got rid of the body. They let him live because, as Scurko stated, they said 'it would be a shame to kill a hockey player'. According to Farkasovsky (Scurko's attorney), Scurko changed his statement in July because he was afraid for his life and didn't find the courage before.

According to our translation helper, Tomas K., the Slovakian legal system permits those arrested to ask to be released on the promise of staying clean. The charges brought against you may be worthy of keeping you in prison as the investigation exists, but those in custody can receive probation with a written, legal promise and the promise of not traveling abroad.

After being imprisoned for so long and not convicted on his charges, Scurko was finally released.

Stick-tap to Tomas K. for the translation help

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy