Did Family Feud Lead to Grisly Alps Massacre?

Brother eyed, but he's already gone to police to attest to his innocence

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 7, 2012 7:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – The plot is thickening around the horrific massacre of a British family in the French Alps. Police say the killings bear the hallmark of a professional assassination—and they are questioning the brother of one of the victims. "It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money," a prosecutor tells the AFP. The victims, identified as Saad al-Hilli, his wife, his mother-in-law, and an unrelated cyclist, were all shot in the center of their foreheads, a sign they were targeted.

"I won't say it was professional, what I will say is it was tremendous savagery," the prosecutor tells the BBC. "Somebody wanted to kill." Al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Briton born in Iraq, had been involved in a dispute with his brother over a $1.5 million inheritance, the Daily Mirror reports. Before leaving on vacation, al-Hilli told a neighbor that he feared for his safety. But al-Hilli's brother has already presented himself to British police to profess his innocence and cooperate. Al-Hilli's seriously injured 7-year-old daughter is doing better following surgery; the 4-year-old who hid under her mother's corpse has not revealed many more details, notes the prosecutor.

Journalists wait in front of Gendarmes, who block access to the site of a killing near Chevaline, French Alps, Sept. 6, 2012.
Journalists wait in front of Gendarmes, who block access to the site of a killing near Chevaline, French Alps, Sept. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Gendarmes block access to a killing site near Chevaline, French Alps, Sept. 5, 2012.
Gendarmes block access to a killing site near Chevaline, French Alps, Sept. 5, 2012.   (AP Photo/Alexis Moro)
Police on Thursday Sept. 6, 2012 stand outside the home of Saad al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey, who has been named by French media as one of the members of a British family who was shot dead by a gunman in the French Alps.
Police on Thursday Sept. 6, 2012 stand outside the home of Saad al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey, who has been named by French media as one of the members of a British family who was shot dead by a gunman...   (AP Photo/Steve Parsons/PA)
A gendarme blocks access to site where people were shot to death near Chevaline, French Alps, Thursday Sept. 6, 2012.
A gendarme blocks access to site where people were shot to death near Chevaline, French Alps, Thursday Sept. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Gendarmes leave the site of a shooting rampage that left four adults dead and a 7-year-old girl hospitalized near Chevaline, France, Thursday Sept. 6, 2012.
Gendarmes leave the site of a shooting rampage that left four adults dead and a 7-year-old girl hospitalized near Chevaline, France, Thursday Sept. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
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