Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Risqué Management: The Murder of Edouard Stern

Upcoming Trial

Cécile's trial is set to begin in 2009. Chiefly at issue is Cécile's mental state at the time of the murder. Indeed, similar to penal codes in the United States, a major distinction is made between murder with and without mitigating circumstances. For the defense, Cécile's actions after the murder demonstrate her "diminished capacity" owing to her imbalanced psychological state and loss of control during a fit of passion. But for the prosecutors as well as Bonnant, Cécile was in full control of her mental faculties and was merely enraged over Edouard's decision to not give her the million dollars as promised.

"Her actions and motives clearly show that she was motivated purely by egotistical reasons relating to the money he promised her," Bonnant told Crime Library.

Under Swiss law, assassinat is defined as a killing with premeditated intent, and meurtre as unpremeditated killing. To receive an even lesser sentence for meurtre passionel--for a crime of passion, the defendant must convince a judge or jury that there were mitigating circumstances that led to the crime. Defendants guilty of meurtre passionel get one to ten years, while those convicted of meurtre alone get sentences of five to 20 years in Switzerland, and the sentence for assassinat ranges from 10 years to life. Perpetrators usually serve only two thirds of their sentences, so by factoring in the time she has already served since 2005, Cécile could potentially be free immediately following the trial if she is convicted of meurtre passionel.

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