For more than three and a half years, the former Savoyard dog handler and his troubled personality have been associated with the disappearance of Maëlys, an 8-year-old girl in the summer of 2017, who had greatly moved beyond the Alps.
But if the shadow of Maëlys will hover over this first trial, it is indeed the death of Corporal Noyer, during a full moon night in April 2017, which will be examined until around May 12 in Chambéry under the eyes of ‘a small audience and many accredited journalists. The Maëlys trial will probably take place in 2022 in Grenoble.
Faced with expectations, fantasies and nagging questions, the magistrates of Chambéry repeat it: Nordahl Lelandais, 38, must be able to benefit from a dignified trial, far from the suspicions of serial murders of which he is regularly the subject.
This theory, raised by the prosecutor during his indictment in December 2017 in the Noyer case, was taken up by the gendarmerie, which launched, in 2018, the Ariane cell. This one will peel some 900 files of disappeared, then reduced to quarantine, to try to discover possible links with the former military dog handler. But without success for the time being.
It was dissolved in October 2020 when a “cold case division” was created. In the current state of the investigations, “no link has been established between Nordahl Lelandais and other disappearances”, a high-ranking judicial source confirmed before the trial.
In Chambéry, the trial will take place in a small courthouse which has never hosted a hearing of such magnitude and around which a large police force is planned. The public appearance of the suspect, of whom only a few private photographs are known, will crystallize attention.
” Let justice be done “
At the end of the debates, the jury will have to answer several questions, one of which is the main one: that of the criminalization of the circumstances of Arthur Noyer’s death.
Did Nordahl Lelandais give violent blows without wanting to kill, as he admitted? Did he knowingly beat him to death? This would characterize an intentional homicide, count for which he is judged, punishable by 30 years of criminal imprisonment.
Premeditation, which would make Nordahl Lelandais an assassin – a word still used by the Noyer family – had been retained during his indictment. But she was then excluded by the investigating judges, who saw no document in the file that could support this qualification.
The second question is that of a possible motive.
On the evening of Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Corporal Arthur Noyer, 23, participated in a water party at the Carré Curial, epicenter of Chambéry nights, with comrades of the 13th Battalion of Alpine Chasers.
At the same time, Nordahl Lelandais is driving nearby with his gray Audi, the one that will allow investigators to make the link with the Maëlys affair. For the examining magistrates, Nordahl Lelandais was, that evening, in search of sexual relation, an occasional partner having previously rejected him.
Death caused by refused sexual solicitation?
Calling himself impulsive and intolerant of frustration, the accused said that he hitchhiked the corporal, who was then drunk. At the time of depositing it in a parking lot in the agglomeration of Chambéry, a fight would have broken out with the soldier, who would have, according to the accused, at least the first blow.
Does the reason for the fight relate to sexual solicitation? The changing testimony of a fellow detainee goes in this direction, strongly contested by the defense and denied by Nordahl Lelandais.
Four years after the events, Arthur Noyer’s parents say they are “ready” for this “additional ordeal”. “We are waiting for justice to be done,” they declared to the press on Friday. Friday, their counsel, Me Bernard Boulloud, called for “serenity and appeasement” for the trial.
The defense lawyer, Alain Jakubowicz, who has chosen to keep to media silence, called, in a 2019 book, for this same “serenity”: “The walls of the courthouse will protect us from the tumult outside” , he said then.
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