Rape and murder defendant defies court proceedings

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The trial of a 24-year-old man who’s admitting to raping and murdering 21-year-old Anja Weløy Aarseth in a popular recreational area of Ålesund last summer got underway this week, with the defendant appearing to be intent on angering the court. 

The defendant, identified by Norwegian media as young local resident Steven Dan Danielsen, refused to stand while the charges against him were read, refused to take off a large cap and hooded sweatshirt he was wearing, and refused to testify on his own behalf. The judge insisted he take off his cap in court, and newspaper Aftenposten reported that court proceedings were halted every time Danielsen attempted to put it on again.

Since Danielsen refused to testify, prosecutors real aloud from transcripts when he was questioned by police. He has admitted raping and strangling Aarseth while she was out jogging in the Aksla hills of Ålesund on August 28 last year. His DNA has been tied to the crime scene after Aarseth’s body was found three days later.

Danielsen, who has a long record of criminal assault, has claimed that he was hired to commit the murder, telling police that it was “just business.” Police, however, have no evidence that anyone else was involved and believe Danielsen is inventing accomplices. He has claimed he was high on drugs and alcohol for 14 days straight before the murder.

Danielsen now faces a sentence of up to 21 years in prison with forvaring, a form of custody meant to protect the public from particularly dangerous criminals. His trial will run into next week.

newsinenglish.no staff