At the trial of Nicolas Zepeda, a heavy file in the face of the denial of the accused

Nicolas Zepeda and his lawyers, on the first day of his trial, at the Besançon courthouse, March 29, 2022.

First, there is this young man with a tie, who carefully folds his navy suit jacket before laying it on the bench, sets out his identity, his management diplomas and his profession of “founder and director of a small business” in an affable tone before thanking “Senor President” the attention he wants to give her. Then there are these rows of interpreters who take turns at the microphone to simultaneously translate Spanish into French or Japanese, while outside the special correspondents of the Japanese and Chilean television channels are busy.

And under the guise of an international congress, Tuesday March 29, there is the court and the jurors of Doubs, gathered at the Besançon courthouse, to judge Nicolas Zepeda, accused of having murdered Narumi Kurosaki, the night of 4 to 5 December 2016, room 106, Colette university residence, Rousseau building. She had arrived in France four months earlier as part of an exchange between her Japanese university of Tsukuba and that of Besançon, to follow a degree course in economics. Narumi Kurosaki was born in Tokyo, she was 21 years old, her body was never found.

Accused pleads acquittal

It took more than three years for the French authorities to obtain the extradition of this Chilean national who was traveling in a Porsche Cayenne to the Santiago court and who was asserting his right to silence before the investigating judge and the French prosecutor who came to interrogate. But anyway he is there, in the cubicle, facing Narumi Kurosaki’s mother and sister, seated on the bench of the civil parties and facing an assize court which, for two weeks, will have to juggle time differences to hear the witnesses “at the two antipodes of the continent”, as noted by President Mathieu Husson.

He is there and he has instructed his two lawyers, Mare Jacqueline Laffont and Julie Benedetti, to plead his acquittal. His parents also came to support fiercely the innocence of their son, so kind, so caring, so brilliant, “Raised in Christian values. » They pray, they say, for the return of the one they keep calling “The Missing Scope. » His two younger sisters, who remained in Chile, each wrote a long letter to the court, in which they expressed the wish to be able to hug their brother again soon. Even the housekeeper of the family wrote a certificate to say how endearing and respectful this young man is.

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