Friday, December 17, 2010

In Memory . . .

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. . . . . . . . Anne Lorraine Schmitt, 1984 - 2007
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Three years ago, in November 2007, Anne-Lorraine Scmitt, a vivacious 23 year old journalism student, was stabbed to death on the RER D train line which runs north from Paris to the city of Creil. It was a Sunday morning, she was going home to celebrate mass with her parents, when her life was cut brutally short by a severely deranged man, a man who had already served prison time for a rape at knifepoint, who had been released early, without serving his full sentence.
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Yesterday her murderer was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum sentence of 22 years to serve before he could be considered for early release again. We sincerely hope he will serve the full sentence of life in prison, only to be released in a coffin. And burn in hell forever after, if there is such a thing.
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This tragedy hit particularly close to home for us, because the train line it happened on runs through the town we live in, and Anne Lorraine was found dead in the train car at the end of the line, with 34 stab wounds, just a few kilometers from our home. One of my daughters was in the same school class with one of Anne Lorraine's younger sisters at the time. Over 2000 people came to the funeral mass in her memory at the Senlis Cathedral.
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Being a father of two daughters myself, I cannot imagine the nightmare that her parents and family have endured since that awful day. Every parent's worst nightmare. My heart goes out to them.
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In the days preceeding the trial, her parents sent out a message, asking that it be circulated widely. The least I can do is print that message here, in memory of Anne Lorraine.
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Letter from Elisabeth and Philippe Schmitt
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Subject: ANNE - LORRAINE SCHMITT
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2010
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Après trois longues années d’instruction, le procès du meurtrier « présumé » d’ANNE – LORRAINE est programmé les lundi 13, mardi 14 et mercredi 15 décembre 2010 à partir de 9h30 devant la cour d’Assises de Pontoise 3, rue Victor Hugo.
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Nous serons présents au procès, en famille, à la fois inquiets mais déterminés.
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Inquiets :
- Parce que nous savons que les armes ne sont pas égales …
L’accusé pourra récuser des jurés, pas nous …
L’accusé pourra faire appel du verdict, pas nous …
- Parce que nous craignons que son avocat salisse la mémoire d’Anne - Lorraine pour justifier l’injustifiable, excuser l’inexcusable …
- Parce que, quel que soit la peine prononcée, nous savons que dans quelques années un juge d’application des peines, légalement irresponsable, aura la possibilité dans le secret de son cabinet, en catimini, de défaire ce qu’un jury populaire aura décidé avec tous les risques que cela comporte…
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Mais déterminés :
- A affronter ce barbare qui, lui, nous a déjà condamnés au chagrin perpétuel
- A lutter sans esprit de vengeance mais sans compromission pour que d’autres filles ne connaissent pas le sort tragique d’Anne – Lorraine …en croisant de nouveau son chemin
- Et donc à mettre tous les acteurs du procès face à leur responsabilité quant au sort de ce prédateur…
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D’avance merci à ceux qui seront disponibles pour nous entourer et nous soutenir pendant ces trois jours et aux autres qui seront aussi avec nous par la pensée ou la prière.
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Elisabeth et Philippe Schmitt
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PS : vous pouvez évidemment rediffuser ce texte !
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Un mail de condoléances à été ouvert. Il s'agit de l'adresse mail suivante:
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condoleances.anne.lorraine@gmail.com
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Translation :
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"After three long years of preparation the trial of the "presumed" murderer of Anne-Lorraine is scheduled for the 13th, 14th, and 15th of December at 9h30 in the Pontoise Court, rue Victor Hugo.
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As a family we will be present, worried but determined.
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Worried :
- because we know that the arms are not equal
. . . the defendant can have jurors refused, but we cannot
. . . the defendant can appeal the verdict, but we cannot
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- because we are afraid the defendant's lawyers will attempt to tarnish the memory of Anne-Lorraine to try to justify what cannot be justified, to try to excuse the inexcusable
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- because no matter what sentence is pronounced, we know that after some years a judge responsible for the application of sentences, legally not responsible, will have the possibility in the secrecy of his chambers, quietly, to undo what a jury decided, along with all the risks implied...
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But determined:
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- To confront the barbarian who condemned us to perpetual chagrin
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- To struggle without seeking vengeance, but without compromise, so that other young women will not meet the same fate as Anne-Lorraine ... by crossing his path again
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- Thus placing all the participants in the trial squarely in front of their responsibilities concerning the future of this predator
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Thanks in advance to those of you who may be available to support us and accompany us during the three days of the trial, and to those who will be with us in thoughts or in prayer.
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Elisabeth et Philippe Schmitt
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You are welcome to widely distribute this letter!"
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28 comments:

lgsquirrel said...

I do feel for the parents and family of Anne Lorraine. Death is always a tragedy but to lose someone at such a young age and to have it taken in an senseless violent act, just adds to the sorrow.

I certainly hope that the defence does not try to assault Anne Lorraine any further just to gain some dubious advantage for their client.

May the family find strength, peace and ultimately forgiveness so that they too may be healed.

the fly in the web said...

Terrible ordeal for the family who loved her....and so valid an expression of the lack of confidence in the system of institutional justice.

Pastelle said...

Je dépose ici les pensées et la compassion d'une mère.

clo said...

Que de douleur Owen..
Toutes mes pensées vont vers la famille de Anne..leur détresse a dut etre tellement terrible a porter, un déchirement impensable..
nous sommes tous concernés par la souffrance de chaque enfant, contre qui la violence s'exerce..
a plus tard..

Steve said...

Such a needless waste. The pen pushers who run our prison systems for the sake of politics rather than the safety of society are also to blame for this.

mythopolis said...

Sad to think of those last moments in this person's life. Outrageous that this man who attacked and killed her, and who had a previous history of brutal violence, should have any possibility of parole. If they had given him the chair, I am sure there are many who would volunteer to pull the switch. I certainly would.

Nevine said...

A sad but beautiful tribute to a life cut short so brutally. I can't imagine this type of heinous crime. What goes inside the mind of one who commits such brutality? But I've seen this violence, now... rampant here where I live. Every night, on the news... I see. It's sad that people will try to defend such crime... and sadder to think that they can sleep at night after doing this. How can an attorney defend someone who commits such a terrible deed?

I can't even think how her parents feel... or how they will feel forever. Theirs is a pain that can't be undone.

Nevine

distracted by shiny objects said...

This family will stay in my prayers and many blessings to all who grieve.

mythopolis said...

"Did an angel whisper in your ear,
and hold you tight, and take away your fear -
in those long, last moments." - Lucinda Williams, "Lake George"

Stickup Artist said...

My heart bleeds over this horrible tragedy that no words can soothe or make sense. This beautiful child to be taken from this world in such a brutal and violent manner is beyond criminal, beyond comprehension. They are an exceptional family to craft such a letter. I will never forget these words, "- To struggle without seeking vengeance, but without compromise, so that other young women will not meet the same fate as Anne-Lorraine ... by crossing his path again." These are the words the justice system should have ringing in their ears. This deranged barbarian should never be set free and by distributing this letter, you do your part to ensure no other innocent will cross his path ever again.

Clytie said...

I too am fighting tears - what an amazing family to say these words. To not seek vengeance, but to work that others will be safe. Wow.

Thank you for sharing these words. I don't know that I could be so nice if it were my daughter ...

TheChieftess said...

How sad...

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Je ne peux imaginer combien ce chemin doit être douloureux, violent, terrible... C'est insupportable en tant que maman.

Roxana said...

by a strange coincidence, this evening i went to the cinema and watched this film, which i totally recommend, it is so powerful and true, in every way, how it depicts violence, sexual abuse and murder against women... and opens a discussion about our justice system, exactly as this letter here does... i don't know where the answers are... please go to see the film, if you haven't already.

i am very torn inside, both by the film and now your post... thank you for bringing this to our attention, we should always think about horrors like these and never forget, ah we tend to think too easily: this will never happen to me... and fight, if we can, and how we can...

ρομπερτ said...

wishing it would be possible to take me strength away, to make her alive again.

Maddalena said...

If someone ever did it to my child, I would learn how to shoot and would kill him.

Sending all my warmest thoughts to the Parents.

le journal de prada said...

hi im your follower now!!

http://lejournaldeprada.blogspot.com

Elisa said...

This is horrible. Mother in me cries everytime when I read these kind of things..

Sar@h said...

On imagine aisément l'horreur de cette fin de vie.

Trois ans pour espérer pouvoir commencer un travail de deuil dans la sérénité … c'est long.

Petite recherche sur la toile, je n'ai pas trouvé d'articles de l'époque … Un métro, personne ne réagit ?

Quand je vois certains enfants, je crains que cela arrive encore plus souvent dans quelques années.
Preuve en est ce jeudi, un de mes élèves est surpris à la récréation avec un compas, je punis, la mère arrive est défend son enfant parce qu'il est légitime qu'il se défende … Juste que personne ne l'avait agressé, le provocateur c'est lui. Alors, élevé ainsi qu'adviendra-t-il plus tard ?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

How awful - I thought these cases of criminals and mental patients being released early/inappropriately to commit such heinous crimes only happened in Britain, and that we only saw such inappropriate consideration of the prisoner's rights v the victims' in Britain.

How depressing to find I am wrong.

I share your hope that the perpetrator comes out of prison in a box next time. Ill or otherwise, he is not fit to be in society.

TheChieftess said...

Sad to say Poet Laura-eate, it is also the trend in the States these days...

Owen said...

Dear Friends,
It has taken me too long to get back here, between the weather and the xmas season, work has been non-stop... am hoping to be able to breathe again after xmas...

Long ago in the past France had an efficient means of dealing with criminals like this one. It was called the guillotine. There is no question about the guilt of the murderer in this case, Anne Lorraine fought back and managed to inflict a deep cut in his leg, he was found bleeding profusely on a train platform, and taken to the hospital, at first people thought he'd had some sort of accident, until the body was discovered at the end of the line, and the police put 2 and 2 together.

Roxana, I'm not sure if perhaps you had intended to put a link in your message here to the film in question, please do let me know the title...

Peace to all...

Jilly said...

Oh dear, this is so moving and so tragic. It's beyond imagining how her family would ever get beyond this. thanks for the reportage, Owen. I'm so sorry this beautiful young woman was so brutally murdered in this way.

Quichottine said...

Merci pour ces mots et le souvenir d'Anne Lorraine.

Nathalie said...

Owen j'ai suivi le procès avec intensité, tant comme maman que comme femme et comme citoyenne. Je suis très touchée par ce crime horrible, et encore plus maintenant que je sais que vous habitez à proximité et sur la même ligne de RER. Qu'une telle chose puisse arriver à nos filles, c'est le pire cauchemar qu'on puisse faire.

Je n'ai pas la télévision, je n'ai suivi le procès que par la radio. Jusqu'ici Anne-Lorraine Schmitt avait pour moi un nom mais pas de visage. Maintenant, grâce à toi, je suis touchée par son beau visage, intelligent, ouvert, lumineux. Cela rend ce crime encore plus insupportable.

Merci d'avoir relayé l'appel de ses parents, que je soutiens entièrement. Un criminel pareil ne doit JAMAIS être remis en situation de nuire à nouveau.

Ed May said...

Hello Owen,

That is so sad to read. It seems like the most promising ones get snuffed out like this. And the people have to pay to care for and feed this human garbage for decades.

Perhaps there is too much emphasis on the rights of the criminal, and not enough on the rights of the victim, in your country too.

There should certainly never be any possibility of parole for someone like this. The notorious Devil's Island prison of the last century would have been an excellent place to dump the most fiendish of criminals, if they're not to be executed.

I hope her family may find peace.

Ed

Owen said...

Merci à toi Nathalie, je suis 300% d'accord...

Ed,
Indeed, you touch on one aspect of this which thoroughly sickens me... some of my tax money will be spent on housing, clothing, and feeding this monster for the next 20 years minimum. An outrage after the original outrage. Again, the guillotine should be returned to service imho. I'm tired of reading about people against the death penalty. Anne-Lorraine didn't have a chance to appeal her death penalty. She had no choice and no rights. In cases like this one, I admire countries who still practice "an eye for an eye" type of justice. We have created a society where people know it is safe for them to commit atrocities. Prison is not a deterrent to sick minds like this one. Yes, the least we could do is recreate a truly awful place like Devil's Island, if we don't have the collective stomach to just hang the s.o.b.

I truly admire her father's restraint and dignity in the face of this calamity. I doubt I would be capable of such restraint in such a situtation, but I never want to be put to the test.

Thanks for your message...

The Sagittarian said...

That is so horrible, as a mum of 2 daughters it is something you hope that you never have to face. Bon courage to the parents. Kia kaha to you all.