Prosecutors demand life sentences in Dutch lawyer’s killing
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch prosecutors demanded life sentences Wednesday for two suspects charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a lawyer who was representing a key witness in a high-profile case against organized crime bosses.
Derk Wiersum was gunned down in September 2019 in a suburb of Amsterdam, a killing condemned as an attack on Dutch society.
In a statement, prosecutors called the attack, “an absolutely sickening murder.”
The two suspects, identified under Dutch privacy rules as Giermo B. and Moreno B., have both denied involvement.
The trial has garnered even more attention since the shooting just over a week ago of a Dutch crime reporter who was acting as a confidant to the same witness Wiersum was representing.
The reporter, Peter R. de Vries, remains hospitalized. Details of his condition have not been released.
Prosecutors said there were indications that Wiersum was killed because he was representing the witness.
Prosecutors said in a statement that the context of Wiersum’s slaying, “in which we as a society are unwillingly confronted with a new reality in which more and more murders and attacks are being committed that increasingly seem intended to spread fear and terror, means a crystal-clear message has to be sent” by the court.
Wiersum represented a witness identified only as Nabil B. in a criminal case against suspected gangland bosses accused of involvement in a string of killings. The witness was involved in one of the slayings but cut a deal with prosecutors to provide evidence in return for a lighter sentence.
The alleged gangsters are currently standing trial in that case.
Detectives said they built their case against the suspects using cellphone signals, video images from cameras near the site of the killing and DNA found in the getaway car. Prosecutors said that both men were repeatedly in the neighborhood in the days before Wiersum’s shooting.
The investigation uncovered what prosecutors called “a professionally prepared and executed murder.”