On April 4, in Prauthoy, out of control, a young man opened fire in the direction of the gendarmes after having killed dog and cat and ransacked the accommodation where he was staying. The violence of the facts raises questions. The defendant’s personality as well.
What could have been going through his head? It all starts with a phone call, in the middle of the afternoon, from a son to his mother. “I am exhausted, I will shoot the first person who passes”. The police are immediately notified. When they arrive on the scene, the men in blue face a madman entrenched in his father’s home. Aged 20, Damien Albani is out of control. The young man devastated the apartment. More worrying. Armed with a gun and a carbine, the madman killed dog and cat before throwing the dead animals out the window. Even more disturbing. Shots are fired in the direction of the gendarmes. A projectile failed “three or four meters” from one of them. A bullet also crossed the front door of the home of a mother, fortunately absent, at the time of the shot. At the end of rapid negotiations led by professionals from the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), the maniac, hitherto unknown to justice, will end up surrendering, at the start of the evening, after having fired “twenty” shots and sowed panic in the peaceful town of Prauthoy.
On the evening of April 4, Denis Devallois, public prosecutor, announced the compulsory hospitalization of the respondent. Six weeks later, placed in pre-trial detention after a week of hospitalization in a psychiatric environment, Damien Albani is there, in the flesh, at the helm of the criminal court, facing his judges. The remembrances of the defendant are partial. “I have few memories, just flashes. I remember playing the console and drinking. I also remember shooting my dog. I don’t understand, I’m looking for answers. Beyond the elements, disputed, put forward by an expert psychiatrist (read elsewhere), the beginnings of answers as to this sudden and violent passage to the act can emerge from the past of the defendant. “Made at school”, “beaten by his father”, a time placed in a foster family, but it was going badly, “the father of this family had a strange behavior with me, I do not prefer to enter the details”, Damien Albani found himself on the street at the age of 16. “I lived alone, in a tent, near a canal, then I left for Italy, I lived alone, in the woods”. While wandering, the defendant found alcohol, cannabis and cocaine for traveling companions. Yet life finally seemed to smile on the defendant. Damien Albani had been staying with his father “for two weeks”. A clearing. So why ? “I’m shocked by myself, I’ve never been violent, I don’t understand”.
Over the course of the proceedings, the defendant will have become aware of the trauma of the civil parties. “Monsieur fired from his landing at the front door of the accommodation of a woman who had fortunately just left to pick up her child from college, the bullet pierced the door, we escaped real carnage. (…) The child of this woman jumps as soon as he hears a noise, this family wants to move”, thundered Me Alfonso. “He could have had five deaths, this man is unfathomable, he remains silent and hides behind easy answers. (…) His life course explains nothing, it damages a man for sure, but his situation tended to improve before all the dikes gave way. This self-centered man is an enigma, ”continued Me Bonnat before reporting on the post-traumatic stress endured by five gendarmes. “I don’t have the impression that Monsieur truly realizes the seriousness of his acts, of this blind violence. Mr. fired in the direction of the gendarmes, animals were killed and thrown out the window, ”continued the prosecutor Candar. Me Lalloz replied (read elsewhere).
Decision ? Four years in prison, including 24 months accompanied by a reinforced probationary sentence including the obligation of care and a ban on appearing in Haute-Marne. Held in detention, subject to a ban on keeping an animal for a period of ten years, called upon to repair material damage up to 11,572 euros, Damien Albani will also have to compensate the damages of five gendarmes to the total amount of €14,500.
‘No dead, no injuries’
“Everyone falls on him, yes, the seriousness of the facts raises questions, but in the end, there is no death, no injury. The gendarmes were mobilized, they did their job diligently and seriously and everything went back to normal, the gentleman left his home and surrendered, ”recalled Me Lalloz, on behalf of the defendant. Damien Albani would have tried to kill gendarmes? The defendant is not being prosecuted for attempted murder. Charges for violence have been brought against him. “Monsieur did not want to kill gendarmes. We are told that there could have been five deaths, but there are none of the deaths and no one is injured! »
The defendant would have fully realized the seriousness of his acts. “He apologized from the start, yes, he doesn’t remember, but wouldn’t he have the right not to remember? (…) We are told that the gentleman’s life course has no connection with the facts, that everything was better, that he was with his father, safe, but the cocaine and cannabis he consumed, it was his father who bought everything, but yes, of course, Monsieur was better, he was protected by his father! Mr. does not take refuge behind his childhood, he is asked to talk about it, so he talks about it, whether he likes it or not, Mr. pays the bill for his education, “thundered Me Lalloz before being surprised at the requests made by five gendarmes. “A gendarme reports a sound trauma and requests several thousand euros. Another asks for 3,000 euros when he explains in a hearing that he slept well and was not shocked. These sums, 6,000 euros, 5,000, 3,000 seem pretty to me because they are excessive! »
Distortion of discernment?
The diagnosis of a psychiatric expert was at the heart of the debates. Pointing to “state of psychomotor agitation”, “partial or total amnesia”, “behavioral disorders and early trauma”, “dyssocial personality” and calling for the implementation of “long-term” care, this professional did not point a major psychiatric disorder likely to lead, legally speaking, to an impairment of discernment, an impairment resulting in a reduction of one third of the sentence incurred by the defendant. This psychiatrist, however, retained an alteration in discernment linked to alcoholism, on the day of the events, having modified the defendant’s perception of reality. “This expertise is wrongly favorable to the defendant, it is a very bad interpretation of the Halimi case law”, reacts Me Bonnat, in reference to a file having made the news. A psychiatrist retained an abolition of the discernment of the murderer of Sarah Alimi in connection with an excessive consumption of cannabis, in connection only, this consumption only accentuating psychiatric disorders having abolished the discernment of the murderer at the time of the facts. “As the gentleman had been drinking, his discernment would be altered, sorry, but the law is not that,” reminded Me Bonnat. “Mister was not forced to drink alcohol,” continued the prosecutor Candar before excluding an alteration of discernment. Me Lalloz also regretted a fallible expertise. “Yes, the text of the law was misinterpreted by this expert, but all the same, the gentleman killed his dog, this animal he considered his best friend, he ransacked the apartment to the point of unhinging the windows! Monsieur was hospitalized in psychiatry for eight days, but he would have no problem on a psychiatric level? Sorry, I can’t hear it! “Elements question. Stranger to the slightest religious practice, the madman, under the influence of a blood alcohol level of 2.8 grams per liter of blood, notably mentioned Daesh before surrendering. What could have been going through his head? The enigma remains intact.