Nîmes: death of a scrap metal thief: at the assizes, the Advocate General requires 16 years in prison

Régis Cayrol requested Tuesday, June 28 at the start of the evening, 16 years of criminal imprisonment against Denis Terrasse, before the Assize Court of Gard. Two years of reprieve for his wife who appeared for complicity in concealment of crime.

Since Monday June 27, Denis Terrasse has been appearing before the Gard Assize Court, alongside his wife Bérangère Bourgin. The farmer with a blank record installed in Bezouce is accused of having killed a young scrap metal thief with two gunshots, on the night of March 13 to 14, 2014. His wife appeared for complicity in concealment of this crime.

On the second day of the hearing, Tuesday June 28, the main defendant questioned by the president of the court, spoke at length about his version of the facts according to which, in his flight, the young man caught in the middle of the night on his property, wanted run into him with his vehicle. “Instinctively I pulled the trigger once, then twice.”says Denis Terrasse, sorry, faced with the bruised family of this young man who, in the past, had actually stolen vine stakes on his property.

A little later, Bérangère Bourgin takes the floor in turn. “Our two families are united by pain. We are also parents and hope that they will one day be able to forgive us”pleads in tears the fifty-year-old, co-accused.

On the bench of the civil party, the parents and the younger sister of the deceased (who on the evening of the facts had precisely stolen nothing from the defendants) all three seem inconsolable. And the testimony of many farmers invited by the defense to testify during the morning obviously did not help. For several hours, these olive growers, winegrowers and other producers of melons or apricots from Cernac, Bezouce, Cabrière or Ledenon, are full of praise for their colleague sitting in the dock.

Described by his peers as an exceptional man, generous, hardworking, upright and viscerally attached to his land, Denis Terrasse had, upon his arrest, admitted having fired the two gunshots on the evening of the incident.

impaired discernment

According to the expert psychiatrist Laurent Ayet who testified at the end of the afternoon, Denis Terrasse would have had his discernment, to a certain extent altered, in the second part of the facts: that of the concealment of his crime. “Confronted with the death of this young man and faced with a load of stress and emotions that were too intense, the accused may have, for a time, been unable to distinguish right from wrong. His actions then became disconnected from his emotions and feelings”assures the expert.

“These moved his vehicle to an isolated place, before spraying this young man with fuel and then setting him on fire!” will recall Advocate General Régis Cayrol to request 16 years of criminal imprisonment against Denis Terrasse, two years of imprisonment fully suspended for his wife.

“Worse than this horrible death, you have inflicted on this family the annihilation of their son!” had earlier arrested Me Mimran, the lawyer for the family of the deceased young man. This always in reference to this cremation inflicted on the body of the deceased for the sole purpose, according to her “ to evade justice from their responsibilities” .

This Tuesday, June 28, the pleading of Maître Emmanuel Trink for the defense will precede the deliberation. The verdict of the Gard Assize Court is expected during the day.

Paranoia, self-defense and an infernal spiral

The facts examined today before the Gard Assize Court occurred in a sensitive context of the multiplication of acts of crime against farmers in the Gard. Thefts of metals and materials, batteries of agricultural machinery, siphoning of reservoirs, or even the multiplication of physical attacks. Malicious acts which at the time, in 2014, had led the entourage of the accused to stay up at night, to carry out rounds in groups, sometimes armed. The exasperation and then the fear of new facts had grown to such an extent that some, on edge, were able to fall into paranoia. This was also the case of the accused Denis Terrasse, according to the Advocate General. “That evening, you fired, to stop it and ensure the survival of your farm”concluded the representative of the general prosecutor’s office in his requisitions on Tuesday June 28 at the start of the evening.

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