Another life sentence demanded against suspects of murder of lawyer Wiersum | News item

News item | 27-01-2023 | 16:31

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has again demanded life sentences on appeal against the two men suspected of murdering Derk Wiersum, who assisted a key witness as a lawyer, in Amsterdam on 18 September 2019.

Life imprisonment, any appropriate punishment

The suspects, Moreno B. (34) and Giërmo B. (39), were sentenced on 11 October 2021 by the Amsterdam District Court to 30 years in prison (the maximum temporary prison sentence in the Netherlands) for committing murder in association. The Public Prosecution Service had also demanded life sentences for both suspects in the first instance. The court did not agree, partly because it was a single murder and the suspects had not previously committed comparable offences. Both the suspects and the Public Prosecution Service have appealed against that decision. The Public Prosecution Service did this because of the penalty: in the view of the Public Prosecution Service, only life imprisonment is an appropriate and appropriate response to the offenses committed by the suspects in association.

Professionally prepared and executed

The two suspects are seen by the OM as the perpetrators of the murder. Immediately after the murder, the police started a very extensive and intensive investigation in which, in addition to a neighborhood investigation, many camera images, telephone and sounding data and ANPR registrations (license plate recognition) were also analysed. The picture emerged from this of a professionally prepared and executed murder. The executors seem to have been directed separately from the forerunners. On the basis of the investigation, the Public Prosecution Service concludes that during a period of roughly two weeks prior to the murder, the two suspects repeatedly visited Wiersum’s home to reconnoitre or intended to carry out the murder.

Stolen cars

When investigating camera images of the area around the crime scene, a white Opel Combo quickly came into view, which had been stolen in Rotterdam and which was fitted with false license plates. This car appeared to have been in the area more often. Camera images show that this car was parked near Wiersum’s home on September 18, 2019 prior to the murder. The Opel Combo and later shooter moved simultaneously from the same spot when the victim left his home. After the murder of Wiersum, the shooter ran into the same street as the Opel Combo had driven into shortly before.

In addition to the white Opel Combo, the executors turned out to have used a Volkswagen Transporter in the weeks before the murder, which was found with a flat tire in a parking garage after the murder; this may have been the originally intended getaway car. This Volkswagen Transporter also visited the crime scene several times in the period prior to the murder.

Traces of blood were subsequently found in the white Opel Combo, which resulted in a match with Wiersum’s DNA. Both suspects could be linked to both the Opel Combo and the Volkswagen Transporter through DNA traces. In the weeks leading up to, but also in the days after the murder, Giermo B. proved to be a regular user of this white Opel Combo.

Action phones

In the period leading up to the murder, both suspects used prepaid telephones to communicate with each other, which were only active for a short time and went off the air on the day of the murder. Prior to each reconnaissance carried out with one of the stolen cars, they communicated with each other via these telephones.

The investigation has shown that shortly before the murder, Moreno B.’s telephone made contact with a cell tower at the later crime scene. A week earlier, Wiersum’s phone was called four times from the same number, who eventually responded by sending his business card. Wiersum then lived abroad. After that, there is hardly any contact via the action telephones for a few days and the stolen cars are no longer seen in the vicinity of Wiersum’s home. All this changes shortly before Wiersum’s return to the Netherlands.

Clear pattern

The OM believes that a clear pattern can be recognized in the behavior and movements of the two suspects. There has been a conscious and close cooperation. Both suspects were in the vehicles involved for observation and were present at the later crime scene on several days. Their roles were more or less interchangeable.

Although the shooter is not recognizable on camera images, it is striking that the shooter has a special walk. Suspect Moreno B., whose DNA was found on the passenger side of the getaway car, is struggling – according to an insurance doctor – with an abnormality in the position of his feet.

Shortly after the murder, it turned out that both suspects and their girlfriends had a lot of money. For example, shortly after the seizure of the Opel Combo, a ticket to Suriname was bought for Giërmo B., a large outstanding amount was paid in cash for a car and Giërmo B. gave money to his children, while Moreno B. bought several thousand euros worth of jewelery .

Attack on the rule of law

Based on all these investigation findings, the Public Prosecution Service is of the opinion that it can be legally and convincingly proven that both suspects are guilty of complicity in the murder of Wiersum. The Public Prosecution Service: “The murder of Wiersum has caused a shock. Not only because he was a lawyer, but also because it seems very likely that this murder, after the murder of the brother of the key witness, is intended to influence the ongoing Marengo criminal case, influence in an extralegal way. That is an attack on the rule of law and that makes the impact of the murder even greater. That is why the Public Prosecution Service is demanding life imprisonment”.

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