Today, in France, the trial of a man who expanded his wife began beating her until he killed her and then burned her body in the woods, a crime he confessed to committing after initially claiming that his wife is missing. Jonathan Daval, 36, faces a life sentence for the murder of his wife Alexia, whose charred remains were found covered in twigs near their hometown of Gray Lavelle (eastern France) in October 2017.
Daval originally claimed that Alexia (29 years old), who was a bank clerk, went for a jog but did not return. After her death, he pretended to be in shock and appeared in tears at a press conference with his in-laws, and he led one of the activities that were held in France to commemorate her memory. Three months later, prosecutors said, the man who worked as an information technology employee confessed to his crime, and admitted that he had beaten his wife after a heated fight, slamming her face against the wall and strangling her. He also denied that he had cremated her body at first, but he came back and admitted that in June of last year.
Daval changed his story more than once, and in one of them he recanted his confession, blamed his son-in-law, and then admitted everything again. Daval almost cried when he confirmed his identity with a trembling voice at the start of the first session of his trial, Monday. The session was attended by Alexa Daval’s parents Isabel and Jean-Pierre Fuyu. In a televised interview, the attorney of the parents, Gilles Jean Portguis, said that his clients wish for a “fair trial … which takes into account their pain, as well as the repeated lies of Jonathan Daval in the last three years.”
He added that they also hope that the trial will clarify whether Daval committed the crime out of anticipation and determination, and “what prompted him to hit his wife 12 or more times, and to strangle her for four or five minutes.”
Daval had told investigators that his wife was violently treating him and insulting him, and he said that he was in a fit of rage when he killed her and did not intend to do so. Defense attorney, Randall Schwerdorffter, said the trial had to “come to terms with what really happened” and promised a “moment of truth”.