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Entries in Murders (5)

Friday
Sep072012

French Alps Killings: Brother of Victim Denies Financial Dispute

Top Photo Group/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- Although authorities in France believe a family dispute about money might have led to the killing of four people and the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in the French Alps, a French prosecutor said the brother of one of the victims has denied any conflict with him over "financial matters."

Investigators Friday questioned the brother of 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli, who was found gunned down in a car near Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France, Wednesday. His wife, Iqbal, and a woman believed to be her mother were also found shot dead, as was a cyclist who happened upon the bloody scene.

"He [al-Hilli's brother] turned up again this morning and he said 'No, I don't have a conflict with my brother,'" prosecutor Eric Maillaud said at a news conference Friday in Annecy, France.

French investigators had come to the United Kingdom to speak with Al-Hilli's brother, who also spoke with British police Thursday after learning of the deaths through the media, Maillaud said. British police are now directly involved in the investigation.

The BBC reported Friday that tension with al-Hilli's brother, whom officials have not named, was brewing over two properties in Spain and suburban London. The house in Surrey, England, which had apparently been in their mother's name, was left to Saad.

Meanwhile, Al-Hilli's daughter Zainab, 7, is in a medically induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital after being shot in the head three times and badly beaten. The couple's daughter Zeena, 4, was found hiding underneath her mother's corpse inside the backseat of the family's BMW by a British cyclist.

Zeena has now also spoken to police about the attack, Maillaud said. The girl told investigators that she did not see anything because she "dived under her mother's legs" when the first shots rang out, he added.

Maillaud told AFP news agency earlier Friday that officials believed a dispute between the two brothers led to the massacre in which all victims were shot in the head and about 25 bullets were fired.

"It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money," prosecutor Eric Maillaud said. "This seems to be credible information coming from the British police. The brother will have to be questioned at length. Every lead will be meticulously followed."

The fourth victim was a cyclist identified by French media as Sylvain Mollier, a father of three from Ugine en Savoie, who also suffered gunshot wounds and was found dead close to the car.

Zeena was questioned by investigators Thursday night, but was unable to provide further help, Maillaud, the public prosecutor for Annecy, told AFP. Both girls are under police protection in the hospital.

Saad al-Hilli was reportedly a resident of Claygate in the London-suburb of Surrey and the secretary of a Wiltshire-based aerial photography company, AMS 1087. The Surrey police are working with French authorities to assist the investigation.

Police believe the shooter used an automatic pistol, which is banned in France.

Another British cyclist who came upon the scene, who is an ex-RAF officer, is the main witness. He had been passed by another cyclist on the climb that leads to the parking lot where the shooting took place.

Police said that he found the BMW with the engine still running, and saw Zainab walking near the car, about to faint. He then discovered the other cyclist, who had passed him earlier, dead on the road.

After alerting firefighters at about 5 p.m., the witness broke the driver's window and saw the bodies inside, one of which covered little Zeena. The cyclist then placed Zainab in recovery position, the BBC reported, adding that police say he effectively saved her life.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep072012

French Alps Killings: Family Dispute Suspected

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Prosecutors in France believe a family dispute over money might have led to the killing of four people and the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in the French Alps.

Investigators are now looking to question the brother of 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli, who was found gunned down in a car near Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France, on Wednesday.  His wife, Iqbal, and mother-in-law were also found shot dead, as was a cyclist who happened upon the bloody scene.

"It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money," prosecutor Eric Maillaud told the AFP news agency.  "This seems to be credible information coming from the British police.  The brother will have to be questioned at length.  Every lead will be meticulously followed."

Al-Hilli's daughter Zainab, 7, is in a medically induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital after being shot in the head three times and badly beaten.  The couple's daughter Zeena, 4, was found hiding underneath her mother's corpse inside the backseat of the family's BMW by a British cyclist.

The fourth victim was a cyclist identified by French media as Sylvain Mollier, a father of three from Ugine en Savoie, who also suffered gunshot wounds and was found dead close to the car.

Zeena was questioned by investigators Thursday night, but was unable to provide further help, Maillaud, the public prosecutor for Annecy, told Agence France-Presse.  Both girls are under police protection in the hospital.

"We have to be extremely careful about the declarations of a traumatized little girl," Maillaud said.

Saad al-Hilli was reportedly a resident of Claygate in the London-suburb of Surrey and the secretary of a Wiltshire-based aerial photography company, AMS 1087.  The Surrey police are working with French authorities to assist the investigation.

Police believe the shooter used an automatic pistol, which are banned in France.

"This is an ongoing investigation being carried out by the French police and we are unable to confirm any details about the incident," Surrey police said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan112012

Mexican Officials: Drug War Death Toll at More than 47,000

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MEXICO CITY) -- The Mexican government Wednesday released its latest tally of deaths from drug-related violence.  The report says 47,515 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on drug cartel activity in 2006, according to The New York Times.

The report also shows drug-related murders increased 11 percent from January 2011 to September of that same year when compared to the same period in 2010, the Times reports.

But, the newspaper notes, experts criticize the Mexican government's apparent shortcomings in developing an adequate tracking system for trends in the country's crime, and say the newest data may be inaccurate.

"Since there are very few actual investigations, those [numbers] are approximations at best," Eric Olson, a security expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars in Washington, told The New York Times.  Olson added that there is no real way of knowing if counted murders were actually connected to organized crime or drug trafficking at all.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep212011

'Russian' Assassin Sought in Istanbul Murders

Ed Pritchard/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- A professional assassin slips unnoticed into a sprawling foreign metropolis, quietly slinks through the ancient city before spotting his targets and then -- in broad daylight -- sneaks up behind three men to coldly execute each with a quick succession of shots fired from a silenced pistol. Later, working quickly on a tip, special police break into the hotel room of the supposed assassin to find they're just minutes too late -- the killer is gone.

The way the Turkish and Chechen media tell the story, the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three suspected Chechen militants, possibly at the hands of a Russian spy, in Istanbul last week read more like the latest Jason Bourne screenplay than any run-of-the-mill homicide -- and, according to a Russian official, are just as fantastic.

According to several major Turkish outlets, Chechen militant Berg-Khazh Musavei was the main target of what appeared to be a professional hit allegedly carried out by a Russian who entered the country only days before. Two other Chechens, reportedly linked to the violent anti-Russian insurgency, were also killed in the attack.

Musavei is identified by KavKaz Center, a Chechen news outlet sympathetic to anti-Russian Islamic militants, as a "close associate" of terror leader Doku Umarov -- the man who claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo airport in February.

According to the Turkish reports, the three Chechens were gunned down just after Friday prayers by a lone gunman who fired 11 shots in less than 30 seconds from the silenced 9mm pistol before speeding away in a black Mercedes. Monday, three days after the attack, Turkish special forces received a tip as to where the assailant was staying, rushed to the location and breached the hotel room, only to find he had fled just minutes before.

But the supposed killer left in such a hurry that his equipment -- including the silenced pistol, a night-vision camera and binoculars -- were left behind, as well as a passport identifying the suspect as a Russian citizen named Zharkov Alexander, the reports said. Ballistic tests on the gun reportedly showed it was the one that had been used in the triple murder.

An official with Turkey's deputy prime minister's office told ABC News that the country's National Intelligence Organization said Alexander may be linked to the Russian government, and the country's largest English-language paper, Today's Zaman, said officials believe a man carrying the same passport had been in the country in 2009 when other Chechen militant leaders had been mysteriously killed under similar circumstances.

Kavkaz Center and officials with the Chechen Humanitarian Defence and Brotherhood Association directly accused the Russian Secret Service of being involved in the assassinations.

According to a Russian official, however, the Turkish reports about Russian involvement are not based in any fact.

"Those are pure speculations having nothing [to do] with reality," Yevgeniy Khorishko, press officer for the Russian Embassy in the U.S., told ABC News Wednesday.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection with the murders.

Several Turkish officials in the U.S. did not return requests for comment on this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun142011

Amazon Activist Obede Loyla Sousa Killed in Brazil

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(PARA, Brazil) -- Brazilian authorities are strengthening security in the Amazon region after the number of activists killed over the last month in the area was brought to at least five with the shooting death of anti-logging campaigner Obede Loyla Sousa, 31, reports BBC News.

Sousa's body was found in the forest surrounding his home in Para.

Members of the Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) told BBC News that Sousa had been receiving death threats after the 31-year-old activist argued with illegal loggers in the area who were allegedly chopping down chestnut trees.

An autopsy report showed Sousa was killed by a shot to the head, and while Sousa's death was confirmed Tuesday, police believe he was killed on Thursday.

Sousa's death is the fifth reported activist murder in the Para and Rondonia states, according to BBC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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