Update 15:45 The high court in Aargau has ruled that Daniel H should spend life in prison, overturning earlier lower court judgement
BERN / ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The March 2009 murder of schoolgirl Lucie T shocked Switzerland, after the au pair from Fribourg died at the hands of a man who met her at the Zurich train station and convinced her to go to his apartment not far away in canton Aargau.
The case drew attention not only to inadequacies in the Swiss system at the time for alerting the public promptly when young people who go missing, but also to the problem of surveillance of convicts who are freed on conditional terms. The family in early 2010 sued the cantonal prison service in Aargau.
Thursday 18 October Daniel H, age 29, the convicted murderer, is appearing in an appeal before the supreme court of canton Aargau, which will consider changing his 20-year “life” sentence to the tougher “perpetuity” sentence, where there is no possibility the man will be freed. The court will review whether he should be found guilty of not respecting the dead, for abusing the girl’s body.
Ed. note: RTS carries the story and considerable background on the case.
Daniel H was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Lucie, in February 2012, but his lawyer argued attenuating circumstances: he had been abused by a friend of his mother’s when he was 11 years old. The lighter sentence allows the possibility of Daniel H eventually being freed after following years of intense therapy. He turned himself into police and confessed to the murder several days after Lucie disappeared. He told police he wanted to return to prison.
The murderer was earlier convicted of an attempted murder and served four years in prison before being freed conditionally in August 2008.
With a “life” sentence that is limited to 20 years, the convicted murderer could be freed after serving his time, if the court, which must reconsider his situation and re-evaluate him every year, decides that he is ready for society.
Lucie’s family said in February that it was very disappointed by the sentence given then, and it has argued for the tougher sentenced to be handed down today.