Without comment, President Aude Cristau announced the verdict. Alain J. is found not guilty of murder, as of a possible manslaughter.
A verdict welcomed under the cheers of the relatives of the accused, now 63 years old.
“It’s the end of a nightmare. I never doubted him,” reacted his wife, moved.
The jury therefore did not follow the requisitions of the public prosecutor, who had claimed twenty years of criminal imprisonment against the former firefighter of Paris.
“It’s not a wrong road, (…) it’s the assassination of an old woman”, had launched the Advocate General Pierre Gérard, during the third and last day of a trial marked by gray areas which ultimately benefited the accused.
“It’s my conviction, I have no way to prove it,” said the Advocate General.
Yvette B., 92, resident in an Alzheimer unit in a Tours nursing home, was found dead on May 13, 2019, in her bed, pieces of cake in her mouth.
The accused had just visited him, bringing a package of industrial madeleines. The motorcycle enthusiast had locked the bedroom door, a behavior that had raised questions among the nursing staff. The former Paris firefighter had taken out a life annuity in 1995 on a family home of the victim.
– “Scandalous investigation” –
The man has always maintained his innocence since his incarceration in May 2019. He said so at the start of the trial on Wednesday and repeated it again during his last speech: “It’s been three years since I say I’m innocent. I didn’t kill,” he said, visibly exhausted.
His lawyer, Me Abed Bendjador son, hailed “a logical decision, which comes three years too late”.
The doubt instilled by masters Abed Bendjador father and son finally paid off.
After having vigorously disputed the elements reported by the director of investigation at the opening of the trial, the two counsel pointed out the inaccuracies of the witnesses and the reality of the financial motive raised by the public prosecutor.
There is no evidence to say that the project to buy a new house in the countryside “was urgent” or that it was prevented by the life annuity, insisted Me Bendjador son. “We serve you a story,” he thundered for the jurors during his argument.
“This guy, he respected the rule all his life. (…) We come to tell you, with an investigation that goes wrong, that he committed the worst crime of the Penal Code”.
“A scandalous investigation”, then added his father.
The former president in particular made a big deal of the declarations of the nurse of the establishment, called when she was on another floor, to warn her that the old lady was suffocating. It was then 7:20 p.m.
“And the other,” he exclaims, pointing to his client. “He’s been gone since 7:00 p.m..”
“Are you going to condemn a man by letting this pass?” he asked the jurors, before insisting on the mortuary toilet, carried out before the arrival of the doctor who came to certify the death.
An act carried out before, also, the arrival of the police. “Despite the suspicion, we clean everything, we do the mortuary toilet, (…) we erase everything”, the council was annoyed. “All the findings, it is not the police who made them.”
“If you have the intimate conviction, say guilty. I leave you with your conscience”, he concluded. “Apply the law of evidence. Apply the law of doubt.”