The widely-covered trial over the murder of 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne, known simply as “the Sigrid case,” wrapped up on Friday with the defense claiming the prosecution had no firm evidence, and the prosecution claiming its established sequence of events was enough to convict the defendant. Legal experts believe that whatever the verdict, it’s likely to be appealed.
John Christian Elden, the high-profile attorney who’s defending the 38-year-old man indicted for Schjetne’s kidnapping and murder last year, claimed in his closing arguments that the prosecution’s case was full of holes. His client, who has a history of violence and psychiatric problems, continues to deny guilt and refuses to accept any suggestion he was mentally incapable of standing trial.
His three-week trial ended with the prosecution summing up eight central factors that, when seen as a whole and in chronological order, they believe prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. His car was registered as passing a toll plaza close to where Sigrid disappeared while walking home in Oslo last year, and just 10-11 minutes before her last sign of life via her mobile phone.
The prosecution believes she was killed that same night, in the camping vehicle belonging to the 38-year-old where traces of her blood were found. They believe her body was then packed into the camper’s bedding and a canvas tent before being dumped at Kolbotn, about 15 kilometers to the south, just behind a barn where the defendant was known to tinker with cars.
The prosecution could not, however, firmly establish how she was killed, exactly when or where. One theory is that the defendant hit her with his vehicle, then panicked and killed her. Elden suggests the prosecution’s case is based on speculation and he stressed the danger that his client will be wrongly convicted.
The three judges in the case will now take the case, which sparked massive public interest and search efforts last year, under advisement. A verdict is expected October 25.