French Murder Victims Each Shot Twice in the Head

Husband worked on secret defense contract

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 8, 2012 5:30 PM CDT

(Newser) A multiple murder in France is looking more like a planned killing than a robbery gone wrong—because each of the four victims received two bullets to the head among their other gunshot wounds, the Guardian reports. "I cannot say if the killer or killers were professional; all I can say is there was an absolute determination to kill," said Eric Maillaud, the French prosecutor investigating the murder this week of Iraqi-born aeronautics engineer Saad al-Hilli, his wife, a woman thought to be his mother, and a passing cyclist.

Both of al-Hilli's daughters survived the assault, and 7-year-old Zainab, who was shot and bludgeoned, remains in the hospital in an induced coma. Maillaud called her a "key witness" and said she will survive the attack. Police also say Al-Hilli was working on a secret contract for a European defense firm that specializes in satellite mapping, the Daily Mail reports. Corporate rivalry, or anger over satellite mapping "in countries which would not welcome such an intrusion," are considered possible motives, said one official.

The crime scene where four people have been shot to death in and near a British-registered car is seen, in a forest in the Alps, near Chevaline, French Alps, Friday Sept. 7, 2012. The case took on international ramifications, with links that tied the slain family to Britain, Iraq and...
The crime scene where four people have been shot to death in and near a British-registered car is seen, in a forest in the Alps, near Chevaline, French Alps, Friday Sept. 7, 2012. The case took on international...   (Laurent Cipriani)
Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud, center right, arrives for a news conference in Annecy, France, Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.
Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud, center right, arrives for a news conference in Annecy, France, Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.   (Lionel Cironneau)
Media picture the crime scene where four people have been shot to death in and near a British-registered car, in a forest in the Alps, near Chevaline, French Alps, Friday Sept. 7, 2012.
Media picture the crime scene where four people have been shot to death in and near a British-registered car, in a forest in the Alps, near Chevaline, French Alps, Friday Sept. 7, 2012.   (Laurent Cipriani)
A forensics officer Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, inside the home of Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England, as investigations continue into the death of four people killed this week in the French Alps.
A forensics officer Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, inside the home of Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England, as investigations continue into the death of four people killed this week in the French Alps.   (AP Photo / Steve Parsons, PA)
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