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Prosecutors seek life sentences for murder of Dutch crime reporter

file photo: people leave flowers where dutch crime reporter de vries has been shot and reported seriously injured in amsterdam
Flowers and a note rest on the place where Dutch celebrity crime reporter Peter R. de Vries was shot in Amsterdam

Dutch prosecutors on Tuesday sought the maximum sentence of life imprisonment against the suspected gunman and the getaway driver involved in last year’s killing of celebrity crime reporter Peter R. de Vries.

De Vries was gunned down last July on a busy Amsterdam street. The killing prompted a nationwide outpouring of grief and anger and raised concerns about the ability of the criminal underworld to eliminate a prominent public figure who was considered a threat.

The 22-year-old suspected gunman Delano Geerman and 36-year-old Polish national Kamil Egiert have both been charged with murder and possession of illegal firearms.

Geerman has refused to comment on the allegations while Egiert maintains he was only a driver and not involved with the actual murder.

Tuesday was the first day of the trial and the prosecution’s closing arguments came at the end of the day. There will be another day in court next week to deal with the defence case and a judgment is expected on July 14.

“(The suspects) would have known that the murder would be a great shock to society,” and that serves as an aggravating circumstance said the prosecutor, who is not being named by the court because of security concerns.

The 64-year-old De Vries was a popular TV personality, well-known for his programmes in which he often worked with victims’ families and tirelessly pursued unsolved cases. He had received threats in the past, but refused security.

Geerman, the suspected gunman, refused to comment after high resolution security camera footage was aired in court that appeared to show him in the vicinity of the attack immediately before and after the killing.

“I invoke my right to remain silent,” the Dutch national told judges asked him if he shot De Vries.

“I did not kill that man,” Egiert said through an interpreter when asked the same question.

The pair were arrested hours after the shooting on a Dutch highway in the alleged getaway vehicle. Police said the weapon they believe was used to kill De Vries was found in the car.

The trial deals only with the hit men who carried out the killing while an investigation into who ordered it is continuing, prosecutors said.

When he was gunned down De Vries had been working as a counselor, but not officially a lawyer, for a suspect-turned-state witness in a case against alleged drug lord Ridouan Taghi.

In 2019 a lawyer working for the same state witness was also shot and killed in an Amsterdam street.

Taghi is currently on trial for drug trafficking and murders within the trafficking world. He has not been charged in the murder of De Vries or the other murders related to the state witness.

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