Elliot Paul Busuttil was on Friday charged with the murder of Mario Farrugia, whose lifeless body was found dumped in the trunk of a car in Qormi.
Busuttil, 38, was arraigned in court before magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace on Friday evening and accused of the violent murder of Farrugia, who was stabbed more than 40 times and left in the trunk of his car in the Qormi valley.
Busuttil, an Attard resident who is currently unemployed, pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, which also include violating bail conditions, carrying a weapon in public and being a recidivist.
He did not request bail and did not contest the validity of his arrest.
Dressed in white running shoes and a black tracksuit, the accused sat in the dock appearing calm and collected.
Police Inspectors Kurt Zahra, Wayne Camilleri and John Paul Attard from the homicide squad lead the prosecution. They were assisted by Attorney Generallawyers George Camilleri, Kaylie Bonnett, and Maria Schembri.
Busuttil was represented by lawyers Edward Gatt and Ishmael Psaila.
Lawyer Keith Borg appeared parte civile for the victim’s family. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi is also registered as one of the family's lawyers in the case.
A drop of blood
Farrugia, who was 62 years old and from Pembroke, was found dead three days after he was reported missing. He had been stabbed more than 40 times and his body was severely decomposed by the time it was discovered.
Sources have said that Farrugia and Busuttil knew each other, with the former seen driving the latter around in the car his body was eventually found inside. They have speculated that the crime may have been sparked by a financial dispute between the two.
Busuttil was one of four people arrested in connection with the murder but is the only person to have been charged in connection with it.
It is understood that investigators discovered a drop of Farrugia's blood inside a house belonging to Busuttil's mother. That piece of evidence, along with geolocation data placing Busuttil's phone at the scene where the body was found, spurred investigators to press ahead with their prosecution.