A convicted rapist who killed a prison therapist whilst serving time for previous sex attacks has been sentenced to life imprisonment – but with the chance for parole. The judge rejected prosecution calls for an unconditional life sentence to be imposed.
The suspect, identified publicly by most Swiss news media only as Fabrice A., was found guilty on Wednesday of slitting the throat of the social therapist who was accompanying him on a horse-riding excursion outside his detention centre in September 2013.
The head of the seven-member judging panel said Fabrice A. had murdered his victim, a 34-year-old woman named Adeline M. who was the mother of an eight-month-old child, in order to satisfy his own fantasies. Adeline M was tied to a tree before being killed.
Fabrice A., aged 42, was convicted of murder, deprivation of liberty, sexual coercion and theft at the Geneva court.
However, the defence successfully argued against the toughest prison sentence – life with no hope of release – because of his tough upbringing and the chance of rehabilitation. The judges said they were ultimately swayed in their sentencing decision by the reports of psychiatric experts.
At the time of the murder, Fabrice A. was serving a 20-year sentence for two rape convictions. This led to strong criticism of the detention centre that allowed him outside its walls to meet a female staff member with permission to carry a knife.
The canton Geneva facility has since tightened up its procedures, but the case led to some politicians to call for a standardised nationwide justice system as well as a common database of sex offenders.
The original trial of Fabrice A. was called off in 2016 after defence lawyers accused the judges of impartiality. The magistrates, it was found, had demonstrated bias in seeking to hear the evidence of a third psychiatric expert, even though two expert statements were made available.