Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Saudi Prince and a Murderer

Murder or Manslaughter?

Al Saud's defense attorneys did not dispute the fact that it was Al Saud who had landed the lethal blows that resulted in Abdulaziz's death. At issue was their claim that Al Saud's punching and kicking Abdulaziz arose from a spontaneous and unplanned burst of anger. Abdulaziz's death was an accident, they argued. Instead of a murder conviction, which the prosecutors sought, the defense attorneys said the lighter sentence of manslaughter should apply.

For the prosecutors, Al Saud had physically and emotionally abused Abdulaziz on a consistent basis. The abuse was routine, and, considering that Abdulaziz had to be treated at a hospital following one of the beatings, Al Saud was well aware of the danger his violence posed. Instead of rushing for help when he saw that his alleged friend was in distress, Al Saud not only waited several hours before calling for help, but rationally sought to cover his tracks and to seek diplomatic immunity for what he had done.

"The defendant used his position of power over the victim to gratuitously inflict violence upon him over a long period of time," Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, who led the investigation, said. "After the victim's body was discovered, he made every effort to evade justice, including misleading police by alleging that the victim had been robbed and then trying to claim diplomatic immunity."

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