By BOHEMIST STAFF
PRAGUE – American Kevin Dahlgren was handed down a life sentence yesterday after being found guilty of the brutal murder of his aunt, uncle and their two children in 2013, local media reported.
The 24-year-old was the first American citizen in history to be extradited to Czech Republic after he was arrested in Washington a few days after the murders of the family.
Life sentences are considered an extreme punishment in Czech Republic – statistics show there are only 48 prisoners on life terms in the whole of the country. Dahlgren had been staying with his aunt and uncle and cousins when the fatal attack occurred. The prosecution bought evidence that Dahlgren had stabbed his victims up to 29 times each and smashed the head of his younger cousin with a rock. Dahlgren subsequently dragged the bodies to the basement of their Brno home and tried to set fire to them.
“He maliciously attacked four members of the family who had been kind to him, who had given him shelter, who had helped him, who had done him no wrong … and murdered all four of them in a very brutal way,” Judge Michal Zamecnik said in his sentencing. “He wiped out a whole family.”
Judge Zamecnik said that Dahlgren was at risk of committing further crimes and this prompted the life sentence.
Defense had attempted to introduce evidence that Dahlgren was so mentally ill he could not be held responsible for the acts. Judge Zamecnik shut this down fairly quickly, being quoted as agreeing that Dahlgren needed psychological assistance, but he was not so mentally incapacitated as to be held not responsible for his actions.
Today Dahlgren’s father told press that the battle was not over and they would appeal the lower court verdict, adding prosecutors had ignored his son’s cry for help.