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In March 1998, prosecutor Robert Hernand filed an indictment against Zbigniew Manecki, the murderer of Miroslaw Major, the head of the Staszic mine, with the Provincial Court in Katowice.
The trial began two months later
Manecki pleaded not guilty. He refused to answer questions from the court. The sentence was 25 years in prison. Judge Elżbieta Sieradzka agreed to publish the convict’s name.
Four years earlier, on 24 November 1994 to be precise, Sergeant Maslowski was summoned to the headquarters of the Staszic mine management just before 10 am. The reason was a murder, the victim – Mirosław Major, the head of KWK Staszic. So began one of the largest investigations in the history of Silesian forensics into a crime that shocked not only the mining community but also the entire region.
“This is for what you have done to me”
When Sgt Maslowski entered the head’s office, the corpse was still lying there.
“At around 9.35 a man of medium height entered the room and announced: “I have one thing to say to the head. This is for what you’ve done to me,” Ryszard Miklis, the witness of the crime, testified
The man reached into his coat pocket and took out a 22-calibre Winchester magnum revolver. Two shots were fired. According to Lucyna Mazak, the forensic doctor who examined the body, Major died on the spot.
Another witness, secretary Janina Krupierz, refused to let the future killer into the head’s office. She explained that the boss was busy. However, the man took advantage of a moment when she was making tea in the back room. It was Krupierz who indicated to Sergeant Maslowski that the shots had been fired by Zbigniew Manecki.
Big money – the motive for murder
According to the investigation, Zbigniew Manecki always had great ambitions to become a businessman. In 1988, he registered the multi-business enterprise “Mercurius”, whose partners kept changing. He was also the manager of a holiday home in Polanica Zdrój from where he was dismissed on disciplinary grounds. People who cooperated with Manecki outlined his character in their testimony. According to their opinion, he is “a man who lies, is nervous, treats employees badly, is verbally aggressive and comes into conflict with others”. In 1990, a new partner joined the “Mercurius” company and a lease agreement was signed with KWK “Staszic”, for five years, for the restaurant belonging to the mine. However, in the same year the company lost its liquidity, its liabilities exceeded its assets and a tax inspection revealed tax arrears. On 15 February 1993, it was therefore put into liquidation.
The conflict between the mine management and Manecki also began to grow, as Manecki failed to pay rent and central heating. The mine took the matter to court. After several hearings, the court obliged Manecki to pay the mine almost PLN 250 million. KHW S.A (Katowice Coal Holding Company)- KWK Staszic, on the basis of the court ruling, on 15.11.1994 called Manecki to voluntarily settle the debt. Therefore, one can speculate that this letter had pushed him into the crime that took place a few days later. The real motive for the crime is still unknown since Manecki changed his testimonies many times. Some of them were ridiculous.