Deventer murder: trial and re-trial by media
The handyman, the pollster and the podcast
THERE LIVES IN DEVENTER, a municipality of just more than 100,000 inhabitants in the southwest province of Overijssel, a handyman by the name of Michaël de Jong. This man had nothing to do with the murder of his friend Jacqueline Wittenberg.
A 60 year-old widow, Wittenberg was strangled and stabbed to death in her home in September 1999. The murder made headlines, then predictably vanished from the news. A year later, Ernest Louwes, Wittenberg’s tax adviser, was convicted of the murder and sentenced by the court in Arnhem to 12 years in prison.
A knife, discovered by a police dog and linked to Louwes, was said to be the murder weapon.
The verdict was reported in the media, and the story again disappeared from the news. Until 2003, when a case review uncovered flaws in the investigation. Results from an odour test turned out to be incorrect: the knife was not the murder weapon. The Supreme Court referred the case for a re-tri…