Accused of the murder of Martine Escadeillas, in December 1986, Joël Bourgeon spoke at length to cry out his innocence before the Assize Court. The tears of the Escadeilals family, but also of his daughters and his wife who support him, did not make him broach.
“I do not consider you a monster, Mr Bourgeon. But I have been watching you for three days and I am struck by your lack of reaction, intervenes Nicolas Ruff, the general counsel before the Assize Court of Haute-Garonne. In front of your wife, your daughters, in front of the relatives of the victim, you show nothing. This is your last chance to say if you killed Martine and where you hid the body?
“No I didn’t kill her and therefore I can’t reveal where the body is.”
Faced with what looks like a last lifeline, thrown first by President Guiillaume Roussel, then by the Advocate General, Joël Bourgeon does not flinch at the end of the debates. “I neither killed nor assaulted Martine Escadeillas. No, I was not in love with her. No, I did not leave Toulouse overnight…” And these confessions, during these different hearings either more than 5 hours, where do they come from? “The gendarmes and the judge extorted them from me”, sums up this 58-year-old man.
This litany served all morning, in a monotonous tone, with a few peremptory assertions in passing, ended up tiring the president who patiently read his confession. “And which do not seem to be dictated by the investigators or the judge”, notes the magistrate. “Not dictated, suggested, clothing,” replies the accused.
“My father is not a psychopath, it is not possible”
Me Frédéric David tries through a few specific questions, calmly, to force the lock. “You talk about the cameras. Why didn’t you ask for a lawyer, which the gendarmes refused you, in front of the cameras?” “I have always done it outside of interrogation”. In the room, some laugh yellow. The Advocate General is no more successful. Me de Boyer-Montaigut details, with supporting dates, the presence of Joël Bourgeon in Toulouse between the end of March and July 1987 before his final departure for Lyon. He seems satisfied.
If the accused seems emotionally inert, his wife, his two daughters, give goosebumps to the assistance. The violence of the arrest in January 2019, the discovery of the facts “a tsunami”, “all these horrors written about my father”, cries his eldest daughter. “My father, my confidant? I have done so many beautiful things with him! He is not a psychopath, it is not possible”, insists the youngest.
On the other side of the bar, at the Escadeillas who have placed several photos of Martine “our youngest sister, so kind”, cries Nicole, 68. “We have not been suffering for 3 years, but almost 36 years! My parents died of grief. Not a family meal, not a meeting without thinking of her.” “The body, to find it. To be able to pay homage to it, to finally mourn,” insists Simone. “I am the second sister, the one who discovered the blood, the traces of the crime…” It was Monday, December 8, 1986.
Legs crossed, Joël Bourgeon listens, impassive.
Verdict Wednesday evening.