Dutch prosecutors demand life sentences in reporter slaying
Prosecutors demanded life sentences Tuesday for two men charged in the brazen killing last year of a popular Dutch investigative reporter, as his children paid tribute to a courageous journalist and loving father and grandfather.
The slaying of Peter R. de Vries, 64, triggered a national outpouring of grief and government pledges to crack down on Amsterdam’s increasingly violent narcotics underworld.
Prosecutors accuse a 21-year-old Dutchman identified as Delano G. of shooting De Vries at close range July 6 in a downtown Amsterdam street. The reporter and television personality died of his injuries nine days later. A second suspect on trial is a Polish national, identified as Kamil E., the alleged getaway driver.
In a closing statement at the trial, prosecutors cited the “extremely serious” nature of the crime, the suspects’ lack of remorse and a string of previous underworld murders as reasons for demanding life sentences.
Judges at Amsterdam District Court reviewed a dossier of evidence that prosecutors say links the men to the slaying, including text messages and video footage.
In the afternoon, De Vries’ son Royce and daughter Kelly presented victim impact statements, recalling their father’s campaigning journalism and the way he managed to combine his work with his family.
“I can still bring myself to treat you humanely,” Kelly de Vries told the suspects. “Why? Because that’s the way I was raised: brought up by two wonderful parents who stood up for what was right, even though it was not an easy path, who dared to stand up for people who had been wronged.”
She described De Vries as “my dearest father, my buddy, confidant and caring grandfather for my child.”
Royce told the judges, “I’m convinced that if these suspects had asked my father for help that evening, he would have given it,” Dutch broadcaster NOS reported. “Instead, they pulled the trigger.”
Lawyers for the suspects are scheduled to speak next week at a separate hearing. Judges are due to deliver verdicts July 14.
Asked directly by a judge Tuesday if he had shot De Vries, suspect Delano G. replied, “I make use of my right to silence,” according to video recorded by NOS. The other suspect said, “I did not kill that man.”
Prosecutors say the two were arrested less than an hour after the shooting in a car on a highway near The Hague.
Prosecutors say the weapon used to shoot De Vries was in the car. Also in the car was a mobile phone that contained messages alluding to the killing, prosecutors say.
One of the judges in the case read out the messages during Tuesday’s hearing. One exchange included two pictures of De Vries and the message “You have to get this dog.”
A later text from the phone read: “He’s dead ... everyone screaming. He didn’t move anymore.”
Prosecutors haven’t publicly identified a suspect they believe gave the order to kill the reporter, who had just appeared on a Dutch current affairs TV show.
De Vries made his name as a crime journalist who reported on and wrote a bestselling book about the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken. Later in his career, he worked to resolve cold cases.
Before the shooting, De Vries was an advisor and confidant for a witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine.” The witness’ brother and his lawyer were murdered.
The suspected gangland leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai in 2019 and is standing trial. He has not been charged in De Vries’ killing.
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