This is the alleged motive for the crime, and one of the lingering gray areas surrounding the death of Alexia Daval. It is also one of the few – if not the only one – constant in the speech of her husband since his confession. On the second day of the trial of Jonathann Daval, tried for the murder of his wife before the assizes of Haute-Saône, the court looked at length on Tuesday, November 17, on the reality of the victim’s “crises”.
Three experts took the stand to try to understand the origin of this verbal and physical violence alleged by the accused, and of which a new episode, on October 27, 2017, would have pushed him to strangle his wife “so that” she is silent ”.
What could only look like a defense strategy – the accused’s lawyer, Me Randall Schwerdorffer, once compared his client to Jacqueline Sauvage – is not anecdotal in the light of the case. Since the fall of 2016, a year before her death, Alexia had indeed suffered from an unknown disease. Times during which she had “feelings of absence”, speech disorders, a feeling of drunkenness associated with a “metallic taste” in the mouth.
“The impression of being drunk”
To her attending physician, who listed the symptoms, she also mentions “aggression towards the spouse”. What she herself does not remember, these mysterious episodes, of which Jonathann is the only witness, being systematically followed by amnesia.
In March 2017, Alexia consulted a neurologist in Dijon (Côte d’Or) on this subject, but the examinations did not reveal anything abnormal. According to Jonathann Daval, these “crises” will then increase, with a frequency of up to three times a week.
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The SMS exchanges of the two spouses in the days preceding his death are in this respect quite evocative. On October 5, 2017, Alexia wrote to Jonathann that she “had the impression of being drunk”. On the 11th, she said she was “scared”, “I have a weird taste in my mouth”, she adds. On the morning of her death, on the 27th, she still spoke of her “fear” and a feeling of dizziness with stomach aches.
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“There are many hypotheses,” warns Professor Antoine Tracqui, forensic pathologist, from the outset. He explored several, in particular that invoked by the accused: the treatment for the fertility of Alexia, which he rejects due to an “inconsistent chronology”, as well as a possible mental illness or a medication for. asthma.
The “chemical submission” hypothesis
Another of these possibilities is of particular interest to civil parties, who believe in a “chemical submission” of Alexia by Jonathann Daval, which he denies. Three molecules – a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxant withdrawn from the market since 2013 and an opioid analgesic, Tramadol, which is not over-the-counter – have indeed been found in Alexia’s blood and hair. Medicines that “break”, confirms the expert, incompatible according to him with episodes of violence.
“But we cannot take these episodes of violence for granted, it is only Jonathann Daval who talks about it! », Annoys Me Caty Richard, lawyer of part of Alexia’s family. She mentions in particular this sleeping pill, whose analyzes have determined that it was ingested by Alexia on October 27, 2017 at bedtime. “Can we consider an administration without knowing it, a bit like the syrups that parents gave their child at the time to have peace?” »She asks.
” Indeed. If the person is not used to it, he may be drowsy, be slowed down… The definition of chemical submission is to weaken someone, it can be obtained with various drugs. The victims say they are in a trance, with a lifting of inhibition, then an amnesia, with black holes… ”These same“ blackouts ”mentioned one day by Alexia to her sister, who on the bench of the civil parties, the chief nods.
“What he describes looks more like an argument”
Called in turn to comment on the origin of these disorders, neurologist Louise Tyvaert for her part leans for an epilepsy hitherto undiagnosed, but very atypical. “It is surprising, for crises three times a week, that no one is aware of it,” she says. And then in 90% of cases, the electroencephalograms are abnormal ”. Ultimate precision from the specialist: violence against others and insults are not among the symptoms …
A “hypothetical hypothesis” therefore, according to its formula, “difficult to eliminate categorically”, according to the expert who ends up advancing a much more prosaic possibility. “I’m going out of my area of expertise, she smiles, but what he describes looks more like an argument in the context of tensions in the couple.” What feed Jonathann Daval’s questioning on the facts, scheduled for Wednesday.
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