At the trial for the murder of Catherine Burgod, the specter of actor Gérald Thomassin

The entrance to the Montreal-la-Cluse (Ain) post office, where Catherine Burgod was murdered on December 19, 2008. Here, in December 2014.

At the Assize Court of Ain, you have to take a look at the box from time to time to be convinced: is it really Mamadou Diallo who is being tried this week for the murder of Catherine Burgod, a postwoman? , in Montreal-la-Cluse (Ain), in 2008? Yes, it’s him behind the armored windows, this paramedic in a white shirt, dressed like a young first, who would politely wait his turn. At the opening of the trial, the court heard him for barely twenty minutes, on Monday March 29. Since then, nothing.

The debates were a little further away from him on Thursday, on the fourth day of the hearing. A ghost was summoned before the court, Gérald Thomassin, a cult and shattered actor. It is an understatement to say that he burst the judicial space, as he was able to do on the screen. For more than ten years, Thomassin was prosecuted for this same murder, without any proof, before being finally cleared in 2020. In theory, the actor therefore has nothing more to do with the case, he could even claim compensation for his three years of abusive detention. A whole day was however devoted to him, where witnesses – all for the prosecution – were cited by Sylvie Noachovitch, defense lawyer.

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“We are not here to put Thomassin on trial, but he remains a potential suspect”, support Mand Noashovitch. The DNA of his client, Mamadou Diallo, was found at two locations at the crime scene, but he too denies the murder. In front of the jurors, the defense strategy looks more and more like a sleight of hand: there is indeed a miscarriage of justice, but not the one you think. “I would like to be sure that you are not in the wrong case. An innocence is not proven by overwhelming an innocent person. protested Jérôme Thomassin, Gérald’s brother, heard by videoconference.

A beginning of discomfort sits at court

At the hearing, the testimony of two sisters was supposed to open this very special day with fanfare: the story of one of their visits to the cemetery in Montreal-la-Cluse had caused a sensation at the start of the case, constituting a centerpiece in the questioning of Thomassin. Ten days after the murder at the Post Office, the two sisters had indeed met the actor, sitting on the grave of Catherine Burgod, the victim, a can of beer in his hand, his ” drug addict eyes » behind dark glasses. He had unwound his life to them, as to all those he meets, provided they were neither journalists nor shrinks: his alcoholic parents, the foster family who tormented him, the wild casting in a home that launched his film career, his addictions, his follies, his César. Then, right in the cemetery, he gets carried away. With broad gestures, he mimics the murder, evokes the 3,000 euros in booty. “Sorry, I’m full”, he concludes.

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