who is the biker placed in police custody, seven years after having been heard as a witness and exonerated?

His robotic portrait was released on November 4, 2013, more than a year after the Chevaline massacre. A man was taken into custody for “assassination” and “attempted assassination” on Wednesday, November 13, in this enigmatic affair. His lawyer, Jean-Christophe Basson-Larbi, confirmed to franceinfo that his client was indeed the biker seen at the time near the scene of the quadruple murder. He was found in 2015, two years after a call for witnesses. Questioned by the gendarmes, he was finally exonerated. Why is he back on the justice radar? What do we know about him? Response elements.

A biker crossed by forest rangers

We must go back to 2012, after the discovery of a decimated family on a country road near Chevaline, not far from Lake Annecy. On Wednesday 5 September, a 50-year-old Briton of Iraqi origin, Saad Al-Hilli, his 47-year-old wife and his 74-year-old mother-in-law were found dead in their car. They were shot several times in the head. One of the couple’s little girls is seriously injured while the second, curled up under her mother’s legs, miraculously escaped physically unharmed. A cyclist from the region, Sylvain Mollier, 45, a probable collateral victim, was also shot dead.

That day, at the approximate time of the quadruple murder (between 3:15 p.m. and 3:40 p.m.), a man wearing a goat and wearing a black helmet was riding a motorcycle on the road to Combe d’Ire, partly closed to the circulation. He crosses paths with two forest wardens from the National Forestry Office (ONF), who ask him to respect the ban and turn back. The rider complies and goes back down the trail, passing the parking lot where part of the Al-Hilli family and the cyclist were killed.

An entrepreneur from Lyon, fan of paragliding

After the testimony of the two ONF agents, the gendarmes of the Chambéry research section try to find the biker. In the deadlock, a year later they launched a call for witnesses and the composite portrait of a man wearing a goat and a helmet of a very particular type, then produced in 8,000 copies. The individual becomes a suspect in the investigation.

He was found in February 2015 and interviewed as a witness by investigators. The gendarmes succeeded in identifying him thanks to his mobile phone, which “limited” in the zone of the crime, and by the exploitation of video images collected shortly after the tragedy.

The rider then explains that he has come to Chevaline on September 5, 2012, to practice his passion: paragliding. The area is indeed known for its free flight spots, between the Col de la Forclaz, the Charbon mountain and the town of Doussard. He assures that he has not made the connection between his presence in the area, the killing and his robotic portrait distributed throughout France.

At the time, he was exonerated. As an actor in the file told franceinfo, “his personal and professional profile excludes him from the list of suspects at 95%”. His identity has never been revealed.

From “timetable checks “to be carried out

By announcing the placement in police custody of this man of about fifty years by the research section of Chambéry, Wednesday morning, the prosecutor of Annecy, Line Bonnet, explained that it was about “carry out timetable checks” and to “searches” at his home, in the suburbs of Lyon. Police custody was extended on Thursday.

Without revealing the identity of the person concerned, the magistrate confirmed that the man was among four witnesses “put in situation” at the scene of the drama a little over three months ago and timed, based on their statements. In September 2021, the perimeter of the killing zone was cordoned off for two days to carry out this situational analysis of the four witnesses, including the biker in the robotic portrait.

According to information from franceinfo, the Diane cell (division of unsolved cases) of the judicial pole of the gendarmerie also made work the algorithm of its software Anacrim and chronological inconsistencies appeared.

His lawyer denounces “a miscarriage of justice”

“This is a miscarriage of justice, my client is going through an ordeal”, pleads on franceinfo his lawyer, Jean-Christophe Basson-Larbi. Faced with some journalists who were waiting for him in front of the Chambéry gendarmerie on Wednesday evening, he felt that this police custody was not “not justified” because his client had “always had at heart to participate in the manifestation of the truth”.

“He has the feeling of swimming in the middle of Kafka and he has the feeling and to have delivered absolutely everything he knew”, he added.

That man “at no time has the profile of someone who could have cold-blooded, premeditated, such an assassination”, underlined his advice, specifying to the press that “the position of this gentleman [était] always the same: ‘I was walking (…) but I did not cross paths with this poor family’. “

This new police custody is an element to be taken with caution as the false drama has been numerous in this case. “These are just checks”, specifies to franceinfo a officer of the gendarmerie. The prosecutor, contacted Thursday by AFP, herself urged caution.

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