Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor and submariner, has been accused of killing and dismembering American journalist Kim Wall after parts of her body were discovered in Koge Bay. Now, after changing his version of the events that lead to the death numerous times, the trial for Madsen has begun.
Wall, a prolific journalist who had written for The New York Times, Harper’s and The Atlantic, had been interviewing Madsen on assignment. She went missing on August 10, 2017. On Aug 21, her torso was discovered, thus initiating a search for more evidence in her death.
Madsen had originally claimed he Wall had safely left his submarine. He later changed his story and said that Wall had died from an accidental blow to the head aboard the vessel. Eventually, he admitted to having a part in her death, saying that he dismembered her in a state of "suicidal psychosis" before sinking his submarine.
Madsen had been officially charged with premeditated murder, sexual assault, indecent handling of a body, according to The New York Times.
Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Madsen.
The case has garnered international headlines, leading the courtroom to fill up with more than 100 reporters. Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen warned those at the court of the graphic evidence that will be exhibited during the trial.
Madsen pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder on Thursday. The exact cause of Wall's death could not be determined due to the body having been submerged in water for an extended period of time before discovery.
Prosecutors have hypothesized that Madsen had bound, tortured, and sexually assaulted Wall before killing her by either cutting her throat or strangling her.
Danish residents expressed relief that the ordeal could be coming to an end within the next two months.
“It’s nice that it’s coming to a close,” said Mathias Lauridsen, a 29-year-old Danish I.T. consultant. “It’s a big case, but at some point, too many details have been left out in public."
In memory of Wall, a fund for young female journalists has been established. Wall's mother said the fund is a way to continue the talented reporter's legacy.
“This is a way for everyone to focus on a continuation, instead of on it having ended that night in that submarine,” said Ingrid Wall. “This means she will live on.”