Suspect acquitted of 2017 murder; Body found in car pulled from Dutch canal
The court acquitted 43-year-old Hans O. of murder or manslaughter in the killing of 31-year-old Ralf Meinema in 2017. The judge found insufficient evidence that O. was involved in the Drenthe murder, in which the victim's body was found in the trunk of his own car, which the police pulled from the Stieltjeskanaal near Coevorden.
Meinema had been beaten to death with a blunt object. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) had demanded 18 years in prison against O. The man will be released immediately.
O. was arrested for the second time in October 2020. The first time he was released due to insufficient evidence. This time, O.'s DNA was found in the victim's left pocket. Meinema had also received a call from a prepaid phone purchased by O. shortly before his death.
According to the OM, O. purchased the phone to lure Meinema to a remote location. According to O., he had a drug deal with Meinema, but the deal fell through at the last minute.
Both scenarios are plausible, the judge said. Because of this, there is too much doubt that O. was involved in Meinema's death.
Reporting by ANP