From the New York Times website this morning.
Jury Convicts Belgian Pedophile Dutroux
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 17, 2004
Filed at 11:01 a.m. ET
ARLON, Belgium (AP) -- A jury Thursday convicted a former electrician in a series of child abductions, rapes and murders in a case that horrified Belgium for nearly a decade and led to judicial and police reforms.
The 12-member jury convicted Marc Dutroux, a 47-year-old ex-convict, of abducting six girls in 1995-96. It also found him guilty of murdering two of the girls and an accomplice.
His ex-wife, Michelle Martin, was found to be responsible for the deaths of two others of the six girls -- two 8-year-olds who were the first to disappear.
According to testimony, the two starved to death while imprisoned in a basement cell in his house while Dutroux served a short jail term for car theft. Martin testified she was too afraid to go downstairs to feed the two girls.
The last victims, Sabine Dardenne, then 12, and Laetitia Delhez, then 14 -- were rescued from the basement prison two days before Dutroux's Aug. 13, 1996, arrest.
Two alleged accomplices, Michel Lelievre and Michel Nihoul, were convicted of complicity in the kidnappings and other charges.
The jury was being polled on 243 counts in all against Dutroux and his three co-defendants. Belgian TV stations broadcast the verdict live from outside the courthouse in this southeastern city.
Dutroux, who faces life in prison, was out on parole at the time of the crimes after serving a prison sentence for raping young girls in the 1980s. That revelation stirred national outrage, along with tales of official bungling during the search for the missing girls and even after the arrests.
Relatives leaving the courtroom expressed satisfaction all four were found guilty.
``They are guilty of everything, even the killings, even the torture,'' Paul Marchal, father of An Marchal, told RTBF television.
``This has confirmed what I thought: They worked together,'' said Louisa Lejeune, mother of one of the 8-year-old victims. ``The recognition of this is a relief.''
Dutroux and the three other defendants were not inside the courtroom while the jury was being polled to avoid any potential pressure or influence on the jurors, officials said. The defendants will be brought in afterward when the decision is announced by the court.
All will be given an opportunity to address the court on sentencing, after which the jury and three judges will deliberate together on sentencing.
Dutroux admitted to kidnapping and sexually abusing the two girls who were eventually rescued.
But he denied killing An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, 19, as well as alleged accomplice Bernard Weinstein.
He also denied involvement in the kidnapping and deaths of the two 8-year-olds, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo. He was convicted in involvement in their kidnapping.
Martin apologized to the court for not feeding Julie and Melissa, while Dutroux was in jail for four months for car theft. Lelievre admitted kidnapping but not raping or killing Marchal and Lambrecks, while Nihoul denied involvement in the kidnappings.
Dutroux sought to paint himself as the pawn of a still-hidden crime ring that was kidnapping young girls in eastern Europe to become prostitutes -- a scenario rejected by prosecutors, who said they found no evidence. Dutroux accused Nihoul of being his link to the syndicate, a charge Nihoul denied.
Martin and Lelievre face possible maximum 30-year sentences and Nihoul 20 years if found guilty.
In Belgium, no appeal of a jury verdict is possible, except on procedural grounds. In that case, the Cour de Cassation, the supreme court, reviews the verdict.
Belgian media reported that the 3 1/2-month trial cost the state $5.5 million. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Belgium-Pedophile-Trial.html