The court of Pontoise.


Francois Mori / AP / SIPA

It is a case that perhaps illustrates the limits of the "queen" of evidence: DNA.

What to do when she does not speak?

Or rather that it designates two suspects.

It is with this enigma that the Assize Court of Pontoise, in Val-d'Oise, is confronted from this Monday: the T. brothers, monozygotic twins - who therefore share the same genetic profile - appear for three assassination attempts in the summer of 2017. If DNA was found on the murder weapon, it is impossible to formally determine to which of the two it belongs.

And so who pulled the trigger.

At the origin of this unusual case, a banal identity check, one evening in September 2017, in a popular district of Cergy, in Val-d'Oise.

It is a little after midnight when the police officers spot a group of ten young people, but hardly have they approached when four of them scamper away.

In his flight, one of them drops an automatic pistol from his bag.

He turns around to try to recover it then changes his mind for fear of being questioned.

It will finally be a few minutes later.

In the same bag, the police discovered a handgun, ammunition and two pairs of gloves.

Three assassination attempts in less than 15 days

Placed in custody, the fugitive, Mohamed T., 24 years old, very unfavorably known to the police services, shows little cooperation.

After claiming that the bag did not belong to him, he tries to escape again, this time through a window of the police station.

Quickly caught up, he will remain silent, just like his brother, during most of the instruction.

Because the investigation will quickly reveal that the automatic pistol was used in three assassination attempts that occurred a few days earlier in the same sector: a man shot in the arm on August 14, another in the calf on September 2 and a third hit of five balls, the same evening.

Each time, the cases found on the spot "match" with the weapon that has fallen to the ground.

On the pistol and its magazine as on the gloves, the experts isolate traces of DNA.

But these can just as well belong to Mohamed T. as to his brother Karl.

However, in this case, if victims and witnesses are not talkative, to put it mildly, the two brothers were seen together at the crime scenes.

Only the first victim filed a civil suit and chose to collaborate with the police.

Even before the discovery of the weapon, this man, unknown to the police, had also designated the twins as his attackers.

Partial narratives

According to his account, the latter took him over on August 14 while he was with a friend, professional footballer Moussa Dembélé, to reproach him for not having opened the door of his home to them when they wanted to "see" a friend he was hosting.

He says that after a few minutes, one of the brothers, whom he identifies as Karl, held him back by the T-shirt while the other walked away for a brief moment had to come back with his face. concealed under a hood (but wearing the same clothes) and shoot him several times.

If he was injured "only" in the arm, notes the examining magistrate, it is because he had the reflex to raise it to protect his head.

For the other two victims, on the other hand, the investigators came up against the law of silence.

These two men, whose investigation established that they knew each other and had had a dispute with the two brothers, gave fragmentary accounts, partially contradicted by the investigation.

Above all, they never named their attackers and no CCTV camera captured these scenes.

Only the weapon has been formally identified.

But who was holding it?

However, if the commission of the crime and its complicity are punished with the same penalty - in this case life imprisonment - the court must imperatively establish the role of each in convicting the suspects.


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  • Twins

  • Trial

  • Paris

  • Assassination attempt

  • Justice