The trial of Jonathann Daval, who confessed to the murder of his wife Alexia in 2017, will be held from November 16 to 20.
SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP
Jonathann Daval, 36, is appearing from this Monday for "murder on spouse", facts punishable by life imprisonment.
The body of his wife Alexia, a 29-year-old bank employee, was found hidden under branches and partially burned on October 30, 2017 in Haute-Saône.
For three months, Jonathann Daval had played the grieving husband before admitting to having hit and strangled her on the night of October 27 to 28, 2017 at their home in Gray-la-Ville (Haute-Saône), during a violent marital quarrel.
“I suspect everyone except Jonathann.
You really need to have compelling evidence to indict Jonathann.
This January 29, 2018, Isabelle Fouillot confides her astonishment to the gendarmes of the Besançon research section, who arrested and placed her son-in-law in police custody.
She is convinced of it: this 34-year-old computer scientist, whom she considers "like a son", could not kill his daughter Alexia, 29 years old, and try to make her body disappear by burning it.
However, the next afternoon, confronted with the evidence gathered, Jonathann Daval confesses.
"I did not want what happened, it was not voluntary," he cries to the investigators.
In Gray, in Haute-Saône, this confession surprises everyone.
Jonathann and Alexia seemed to make an ideal couple.
A beautiful wedding celebrated in 2015, a cat named Happy, a common passion for running, a house with a swimming pool… Alexia seemed to be swimming in happiness.
There was no indication that Jonathann would one day be tried before the Assize Court for the murder of the one he had known for ten years.
Yet behind the face of the ideal son-in-law hides that of a man who hit and strangled his wife after a family raclette evening.
For three months, he aroused the compassion of the French who saw him mourning the death of his wife alongside his in-laws.
Jonathann continued to meet them almost daily.
It is an understatement to say that for Isabelle and Jean-Pierre Fouillot, his confessions sound like a thunderclap.
However, we must face the facts: no prowler killed Alexia while she was jogging in the woods, on a cold Saturday morning in October 2017. The young woman died a few hours earlier, at her home , on the stairs leading to the garage.
Hit and strangled
Jonathann had imagined a Machiavellian scenario to cover up his crime committed during the night from Friday to Saturday.
He put Alexia's body in the trunk of his company car, took a sleeping pill, and went to bed.
At around 11 a.m., he went to his in-laws, who run a PMU café in Gray, to express his concern: the young woman, who left for a run two hours ago, is not returned and does not respond to messages.
Then, in the process, he went to the gendarmerie to report his disappearance.
An investigation of flagrance is then opened and significant means deployed to find the young woman.
Two days later, on October 30, at around 2.15 p.m., student police officers who were raking the woods of the Vaivre in Esmoulins, discovered Alexia's lifeless body, partially charred and hidden under branches.
The autopsy reveals that she received numerous blows to the face before being strangled, which resulted in her death.
The witnesses questioned by the investigators are categorical: the pretty blonde and the handsome brunette with blue eyes form an ideal couple, happy and without history.
Alexia, proclaims Jonathann during a white march, was his “first supporter”, his “oxygen”, the “strength” which pushed him to surpass himself during his “physical challenges”.
Alongside Alexia's family, who support him, the young man appears to be devastated that day.
However, the suspicions of the gendarmes quickly fell on him.
The investigators noted several disturbing elements.
No one, to begin with, saw the young bank worker running the morning of her disappearance.
No DNA has been found on the body except that of Jonathann.
On the other hand, a hunter saw a white utility vehicle similar to that of the young man on a path near the place of the discovery of the body.
A vehicle he used on the night of Friday to Saturday, as evidenced by the data of the tracker installed inside by his employer.
"It got me beside myself"
On January 29, 2018, the investigators decided to arrest him.
During his fifth hearing, he cracks and concedes having killed Alexia.
By accident, he says.
But he denies hitting her and setting her body on fire.
Over time, his version will evolve, going so far as to accuse his brother-in-law of the murder before retracting.
But on the day of the reconstruction of the murder, in June 2019, begged by the mother of the victim, he confesses.
The night of his death, Alexia had offered to make love to him, he had refused.
She got angry, telling him that he was "not a man" and that he "did not want a child with her".
She insults him, bites him.
"That's where it got me beside myself," explains the one who passed for a calm and discreet young man.
To keep her quiet, he hit her "several times with his left hand and right hand in the face," and banged her head against a wall.
Before grabbing his neck and squeezing it for long minutes.
Alexia tries to struggle, to grab her arms, but eventually she passes out.
Jonathann, however, continue to squeeze.
"She sagged," continues the young man, swearing he did not want to kill her.
In the morning, he put Alexia on his jogging clothes, picked up the young woman's cell phone and texted his sister.
He then took the body to the woods of Esmoulins and attempted to set it on fire using an expanding foam bomb and a lighter.
“It's all that has accumulated, that has come up at the same time.
I messed up, ”Jonathann once told the examining magistrate.
The couple had their issues that no one seemed to know about.
Alexia wanted a child.
But she had fertility problems and had to take hormone therapy, which Jonathann said was causing her "fits of hysteria".
She made fun of him, his erection problems and taunted him with sex toys that she used next to him.
“She humiliated me with it.
"They are waiting for answers from him"
On the eve of Jonathann's trial, Alexia's parents, sister and brother-in-law are "both calm and determined", explains their lawyer, Me Gilles-Jean Portejoie.
“They are especially eager to see him, because they have not seen him since the re-enactment, and to ask him questions.
They are waiting for answers from him, adds the lawyer from Clermont.
The best of excuses will be to tell us why, why the one we considered a son could have come to this.
"According to him, the trial will also allow to evoke the" few gray areas that remain "in this case.
“What about a complicity?
Can we talk about premeditation?
"Indeed, all is not said, far from it, in the file of Jonathann Daval", explains Me Randall Schwerdorffer, the lawyer of the young man.
“He nevertheless expressed himself sometimes quite little, especially on the passage to the act.
He is ready for it today, but it took time for his position to evolve, for him to be able to open up to the debate and be able to answer as best as possible the questions put to him.
This was not always the case, especially at the start of this affair.
“Tired, anxious and stressed,” Jonathann Daval “greatly apprehends the trial”, to find himself facing Alexia's family, confides his lawyer.
“The first few minutes are going to be extremely difficult emotionally.
He faces life imprisonment.
Murder of Alexia Daval: Who is Jonathann Daval, going from ideal son-in-law to alleged murderer?
Murder of Alexia Daval: Jonathann's confession experienced as "double mourning" by the family of the victim