Mathieu Danel, tried for having killed a woman in order to “know the feeling of taking life”, was sentenced Tuesday evening to life imprisonment with a security period of 22 years by the Assize Court of Nîmes (Guard). The court found him guilty of premeditated murder and found him responsible for his actions after only an hour and a half of deliberation.
“Your state of danger is extremely worrying. You have the opportunity to progress, but it depends on you, and we cannot take this risk, ”explained the president of the assize court, Eric Emmanuelidis.
The court therefore followed the indictment of the Advocate General, Stéphane Bertrand. “I ask you to pronounce a sentence of elimination, your hand must not tremble”, had launched at the end of his indictment the magistrate, by qualifying the accused of “time bomb”. “He shouldn’t think he has a chance to get out,” he insisted.
“Devoid of any trace of humanity”
On June 21, 2018, Mathieu Danel, a young man hitherto uneventful, presented himself at the police station in his hometown of Montélimar (Drôme) to confess to a homicide committed two days earlier in Sommières, in the Gard: after having dined with his future victim, a woman he had picked up hitchhiking, he had killed with several blows from a hunting dagger bought three weeks earlier.
The victim, Claire Reynier, 39, had received 17 dagger blows, carried out with “very great violence”, the last of which, fatal, had reached the heart by piercing the sternum, according to the medical examiner.
The sentence required is “a heavy sentence, very heavy, a penalty of elimination, which is found for the most serious crimes”, such as those of November 13, 2015 at the Bataclan, had regretted in his pleading the lawyer of Mathieu Danel, Me Jérôme Arnal, believing that his client will one day be able to “get back on track” in reality.
The psychiatrists had succeeded each other at the bar since Tuesday morning, on the second day of the trial, to try to find explanations for this act “Devoid of any trace of humanity”, in the words of the Advocate General.
“Black hero character”, according to a lawyer
All of them had ruled out any mental illness that would make him irresponsible for his actions, and it is therefore at the level of his psychology, of the megalomaniacal type, and his life course, where failures in school and in love followed one another, that they had made some assumptions but no real explanation.
Fan of violent manga, Mathieu Danel “created a character of black hero to exist and leave a trace”, he did not kill as part of an “experiment”, had estimated the lawyer of the family of Claire Reynier, Me Antony Chabert.
“Me too, I find myself abject”
“I’m looking for something to say, I know how much I hurt them,” said the accused, speaking one last time before the jurors retired to deliberate, to the address of the relatives of his victim. .
“But that would sound wrong and you wouldn’t believe a word of it,” he added, once again unable to express the slightest regret: “I know that I could be deeply moved by everything that was said, but That was not the case. I, too, find myself abject”.
He had, however, assured not to run “after glory, celebrity”. “When they talk about being locked into a character, it’s not something that I chose. Since my incarceration, I have been in therapy, because I know very well that something is wrong. I’m not looking to become a serial killer, I may have the potential, but I’m doing everything possible not to become one.
Mathieu Danel has 10 days to appeal.