Defense pleads manslaughter, not murder, in double killings by couple
Bill C. (52) and Sharona de J. (34) did not have a premeditated plan to kill 70-year-old businessman Willem van der Willigen in Lieshout and 65-year-old Benito van Ommeren in Amsterdam in Spring 2021, according to their lawyers in their defense closing argument. Bill C.'s lawyer asked the Den Bosch court to acquit him of murder charges twice and instead convict him of manslaughter. Sharona de J.'s attorneys believe she should be acquitted of all charges.
On Friday, the Public Prosecution Service demanded a life sentence for Bill C. and 25 years in prison for Sharona de J. for the two murders.
Bill confessed to beating van der Willigen to death with a hammer in his villa in Lieshout on May 2, 2021, while the victim was sleeping. At the time, De J., a transgender prostitute, was in the house because the man was one of her clients. She had also met C. as a client, and the two were in a relationship.
According to C.'s lawyer, he did not visit the villa with the intention of killing the man but acted on impulse. "He had one goal: to get Sharona back.” She argued that there was no evidence of premeditation, or in legal terms, murder. She urged the court not to impose a life sentence.
De J. is accused of being an accomplice to the murder. She notably texted C. that the victim was asleep. However, she claimed to have been taken by surprise by C.'s actions, with her attorneys emphasizing that no arrangements had been made for his arrival.
Van der Willigen's body lay in his villa for several weeks, while the suspects stayed there as if nothing had happened. Sharona received clients there. The duo consumed large amounts of alcohol and drugs, stole his car, and plundered over 90,000 euros from his bank account. The pair then left for Amsterdam and stayed at the Krasnapolsky Hotel in a suite for 1,800 euros per night. However, their stay was cut short after they were evicted for soiling their room with feces.
C. and De J. found shelter with Van Ommeren, in exchange for drugs, groceries, and sex. When he wanted to evict them, an argument broke out. C. eventually strangled the Amsterdam resident with his belt.
According to the prosecutor, De J. was actively involved in the altercation. However, De J.'s lawyers argued that she did not significantly contribute to his death and should be acquitted.
Police arrested the pair on June 26, 2021, at van Ommeren's residence, where they discovered his body beneath a mattress.
The court will deliver its verdict on December 5.