Tuesday, May 24

Death of Maëlys: Lelandais in front of the assizes for an extraordinary trial

Nordahl Lelandais is back on Monday before an Assize Court in Grenoble to answer for the death in 2017 of little Maëlys De Araujo, a three-week trial which promises to be one of the most followed of the year both the affair media and opinion.

The 38-year-old former military dog ​​handler is on trial for the murder preceded by the kidnapping and forcible confinement of this 8-year-old girl in August 2017, as well as for the sexual assaults against two of his grandchildren. cousins ​​in the same summer.

Already sentenced in Chambéry in May 2021 to 20 years’ imprisonment for the murder of young soldier Arthur Noyer – a verdict he had not appealed – the suspect is expected early Monday at the city’s courthouse, where the hearing is due open at 10:00 a.m. with the drawing of jurors and the calling of witnesses.

As during the Chambéry trial, an army of journalists should be waiting for him there: 250 have been accredited to follow the proceedings, a considerable figure for this type of case.

“The calm before the media storm of next January 31”, joked last week on Twitter Attorney General Jacques Dallest, who will be the seat of the public prosecutor’s office during the trial, in the caption of a photo showing the room of the lost steps of the palace, deserted.

“Beyond the scum of the media, only what happens in the sanctuary of the enclosure of #Justice counts”, replied Me Alain Jakubowicz, who defends Nordahl Lelandais.

This first day should continue with the report of the president of the court then, in the afternoon, the hearing of witnesses including a personality investigator.

In addition to the experts and investigators, around forty witnesses should be heard during the hearings. Nordahl Lelandais himself should not be heard on the facts before Wednesday afternoon.

– Compassion and indignation –

From the start, four and a half years ago, this tragic news item had fascinated the general public, arousing compassion for the girl’s parents and indignation with regard to the suspect, perceived as a manipulator and for a time suspected of being a serial killer.

As the trial approached, special files and reports devoted to the Lelandais affair multiplied again, one of which gave rise to an investigation for “breach of professional secrecy”. For her part, Maëlys’ mother, Jennifer De Araujo, has just published a book-story dedicated to her daughter.

Sensing well in advance the “challenge” of strong media pressure, the Courthouse carried out exceptional logistical arrangements with, in particular, the opening of a second room with direct video transmission and a strengthening of security measures.

On busy days, a “draw” will determine which journalists will be admitted to the main courtroom. And, as in the trial of the November 13 attacks, civil parties not wishing to be approached by the media will wear a red cord around their necks. As for the jurors, they will be able to benefit from psychological assistance if they wish.

– Blood stain –

The suspect, imprisoned in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), will have to explain the circumstances which led him to kill – “involuntarily” according to him – Maëlys De Araujo during a wedding evening in Pont-de- Beauvoisin (Isère) on the night of August 26 to 27, 2017.

In particular, we still do not know under what conditions the little girl got into her car. The circumstances of the child’s death also remain surrounded by gray areas.

Quickly suspected despite his denials, the former soldier was finally confused by the discovery of a bloodstain in the trunk of his car. Six months after the fact, he had led the investigators to the remains of his victim, in the Chartreuse massif.

He will also be tried for sexual assault against two little cousins ​​aged 5 and 6 at the time, as well as for possession and recording of child pornography images.

The verdict is expected around February 18 – if the Covid-19 pandemic does not cloud the issue.

Nordahl Lelandais faces life imprisonment.


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