Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Belgium's Skydiving-Murderess Trial

The case had everything: secret trysts, subterfuge and a sabotaged parachute. The victim, Els Van Doren, 38, perished after leaping from a Cessna to perform a routine with her skydiving club — only to find that her chute ropes had been cut. The investigation brought a bizarre love triangle to light: the married Van Doren was also sleeping with a Dutch member of the skydiving club, Marcel "Mars" Somers. And Somers was sleeping with another club member as well, Els "Babs" Clottemans, 26, a schoolteacher with a history of psychological problems. In a four-week trial in October that mesmerized Belgium, Clottemans — despite a lack of confession, fingerprints or even a telltale pair of scissors — was found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to a 30-year jail term.