Life in prison sought against suspects in Amsterdam attorney's slaying
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) asked the court to convict two men suspected of murdering defense attorney Derk Wiersum nearly two years ago. The OM said during the trial on Wednesday that the two suspects should be put away for life in prison, a rare sentence demand, because of the "absolutely abhorrent" crime.
The defense will present its closing statement on Monday.
Wiersum was assassinated while talking to his wife in front of their home in Amsterdam on the morning of September 18, 2019. At the time, he was representing Nabil B., a key witness for the prosecution in who was to testify against alleged crime boss Ridouan Taghi and others close to him in the Marengo court process. The ongoing trial involves at least eight murders, two attempted murders and the preparation of two assassinations.
Two suspects were charged with the murder of 44-year-old defense attorney, Wiersum: 37-year-old Giermo B. from Almere and 32-year-old Moreno B. from Rotterdam. Surveillance footage from near the crime pictured the stolen get-away car which in turn led them to the suspects. They were arrested in November 2019.
The OM said that it is vital that a "crystal clear message is sent" to show that there are "major consequences for those tempted to kill someone for money." Wiersum was killed on "a black Wednesday" in a crime that can be "described as an attack on the rule of law, and one that shows how subversive organized crime can be."
The prosecuting attorney went on to state, "Wiersum was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wiersum was the objective of a targeted attack." Prosecutors alleged the attorney was killed in a murder-for-hire scheme, but the person who ordered the assassination was still being investigated.
Many politicians and lawyers reacted with outrage about the Wiersum murder. Along with journalist groups, they also said the shooting of crime reporter Peter R. de Vries last week was also an attack on the rule of law. Like Wiersum, De Vries was also among those giving advice to Nabil B., whose brother was also killed only a week after Public Prosecutors announced that a suspect had turned into a key witness.
Prosecutors said Moreno B. was the likely shooter, as the gunman was identified as having an unusual pattern to his gait. They said B. has a medical problem with his foot that can be the reason for this unusual movement. He read a note in court on Tuesday in which he maintained his innocence. He gave no further explanation stating, “I am under no obligation to answer questions.”
Giermo B. also did not want to answer questions saying, “You will not get an answer to all the questions you are going to ask, I can already tell you that.” He was believed to have driven the van used in the crime. DNA evidence matched to both suspects was found in the vehicle.
Blood splatter from the crime scene was carried by the suspects into the van, the prosecutor said. That trace evidence matched with Wiersum's DNA.
A third suspect, Anouar T., was suspected of delivering the stolen car the gunmen used to carry out the crime. T. claimed authorities made him unlock his phone unlawfully. He was later released due to insufficient evidence.
"A young and happy family has been destroyed and the suffering is enormous," the OM said.
“Your child is dead. And if you can’t imagine the feeling, it’s for the better”, the 74-year-old father of Wiersum said in a pre-recorded video that was shown during the second day of the trial. “You can’t do anything against it. Your child is gone. Can’t be found. Vanished. Shot dead”, the father said.