Grandfather accused of Pizem murder: When I told Rose's mother she was dead, she fainted
Marie-Charlotte Renault, the woman accused of conspiring to kill her four-year-old daughter, Rose Pizem, first heard of her death from the girl's grandfather with whom she was romantically linked, the grandfather, Ronny Ron, told the Petah Tikva District Court yesterday.
In his testimony, Ron contradicted earlier statements he gave in court as well as to police. Earlier in the day, he had testified that Renault had no knowledge of her daughter's fate, and that he was fearful of revealing the truth.
Renault's attorneys plan on using Ron's testimony to claim that their client became aware of her daughter's death after the fact. Her lawyers say this would, in the worst-case scenario, make her guilty of being an accessory to a crime that was already committed. Even so, her lawyers say, it would not be a punishable offense if the suspect is a woman aiding her male companion.
During a face-to-face encounter between Renault and Ron that was facilitated by the police, Ron is seen coaching his former lover on what to say during the investigation. While embracing Renault, Ron told her to say that she knew that Rose had been dropped off at the French school she was attending at the time of her death. Renault did not appear surprised at the request, which suggests that she may have been a willing accomplice to his actions.
Ron's testimony yesterday is likely to boost Renault's argument that she was not surprised by Ron's entreaties, given that she was already aware of Rose's death. Renault's lawyers are likely to argue that she was not party to the planning or carrying out of the murder. Rather, she tried to conceal the crime after the fact.
During the trial, Renault's attorney, Revital Swid, launched a blistering examination of Ron. "You pretty-much dictate to her what to say," Swid told Ron. "Yes, of course," Ron responded. "I'm trying to get out of this thing through her. In my stupidity, today in hindsight it's clearly from my stupidity, I told her what to say, how to say it, how to behave [which made her an accomplice]."
Swid asked Ron about the prosecutors' claim that Renault is guilty of enticement to murder. "Did Marie spur you on?" she asked. "Did she apply any sort of pressure to bring about Rose's death?"
"No, God forbid," Ron replied. "On the contrary."
Ron confirmed to Swid that he told Renault that an accident had occurred, and as a result she would not be seeing her daughter again. "How did she respond?" Swid asked.
"She fainted in the kitchen," Ron replied. "Then she went to the bathroom, locked herself in there for a few hours and asked that I leave the house and arrange for plane tickets for her and the girls to fly to France."
Ron said that he was violent and heavy-handed toward Renault, who was easily intimidated. Swid tried to demonstrate that Ron acted independently of Renault, and thus could not have been pressured by her to kill Rose.