Trial begins for that Danish submarine murder guy

The murder trial of billionaire inventor Peter Madsen began in Copenhagen today. You may recall our previous coverage of this horrifying and bizarre tale, when we learned that Madsen was accused of torturing, murdering and dismembering the body of journalist Kim Walls aboard his private submarine which he designed and built himself. After months of questioning, he was finally charged with the crime in January and now the wheels of justice are grinding into gear. (New York Post)

Danish inventor Peter Madsen went on trial Thursday accused of tying up and torturing Swedish reporter Kim Wall before he either cut her throat or strangled her during a trip on his private submarine in August.

Madsen, 47, is charged with murder, dismemberment and indecent handling of a corpse for the way he disposed of Wall’s body.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen started the 12-day trial at Copenhagen City Court by reading the charges, describing in detail how Wall’s body parts were found on the ocean bed. Madsen, wearing glasses and a dark shirt, listened quietly with his fists closed.

Madsen’s lawyer, Betaina Hald Engmark, then formally entered a not-guilty plea to the murder charge.

I won’t go over all the gruesome details yet again here, but if you missed them just click on the links above to go back for a recap. What I was far more interested to see was whether or not the state was going to eventually prise a guilty plea out of Madsen. Apparently not. His attorney was able to show up in court with his client and deliver a not guilty plea with a straight face.

What will the court find in this case? Despite a mountain of physical evidence, there is the issue of how Madsen kept changing his story under questioning, going through at least six wildly different explanations for how Kim Wall wound up scattered across the ocean floor in a collection of garbage bags. When asked why he had chopped up her body and what prompted him to concoct so many lies each time the story evolved, all Madsen could say was that he had been fearful that people would think he was guilty of the murder.

Really? Two people went out alone on a submarine. One of them was you. The other was a woman who wound up slashed multiple times, partially gutted, strangled, chopped into pieces and dumped into the ocean in weighted trash bags. And you’re worried that people might think you were responsible? Perish the thought.

It just seems amazing to me that Madsen is sticking with his not guilty plea. What other possible explanation could there be? At least when O.J. Simpson was arrested he was able to offer a vaguely plausible alternate theory. Perhaps some random serial killer just happened to be wandering past his mansion just as his wife and her friend happened to be arriving. (I know… I know.. but it was at least theoretically possible.) With Madsen, there is no other scenario to explain what went on in that submarine. I realize you have to be crazy to want to torture someone to death in the first place, but this guy seems even more off his rocker if he believes that a jury is going to buy this story, particularly when they found snuff films on his computer.

The trial is expected to take twelve days to complete, so unless something goes massively off the rails, there may be justice for Kim Wall coming at last.