Details of French National’s Murder
03 February, 2011
Details of French National’s Murder

Investigation refuses to disclose more information


A horrible incident occurred in the Georgian capital. In the evening of 27 January, a French national Stephen Cohen was repeatedly stubbed to death in his third floor apartment of Courtyard Marriott Hotel. The suspect – a teenager boy – was instantly detained. His identity is not revealed by the police because of his age. The murder motives are also unknown. Investigation is underway. In a video-taped narrative given to the Ministry of Internal

Affairs, the suspect admits that he had an argument with Cohen but reasons behind it are not known. According to the Ministry, several open wounds inflicted by a sharp weapon can be spotted on the neck and body of the victim.
In a few hours following the murder, the MIA website published a video of suspect’s detainment. The video shows a very young suspect disclosing details of his entry to Cohen’s apartment and killing of the Frenchman.
“I was in the hotel with that foreigner. I wanted to smoke a cigarette and went outside. After I finished smoking I returned to the apartment. Soon we had an argument about something. I got the knife from my pocket and stabbed him in the neck. The foreigner managed to run into the corridor. I lost my head and dragged him back into the room. Shortly after, he died. Then immediately I heard somebody knocking at the door. I thought it was security guards. I asked who was there and what they wanted. They answered by requesting that I open the doors. I told them to wait a minute. I grabbed the notebook and photocamera and put them in my backpack. Then I escaped through the window,” – recalls the teenage culprit.
As we see from the video, the alleged killer took several mobile phones, photocamera and notebook.
According to the information released by the MIA, an investigation to track down the suspect ensued quickly and ended in his arrest in the vicinity of the hotel. The suspect admitted the crime. The police found the crime tool and stolen items.
According to the media reports, the suspect left Cohen’s apartment via the veranda of Courtyard Marriott Hotel; he managed to hop to the balcony of an adjacent house, where he used window curtains to slide down the street neighboring the hotel.
“We confirm that the regretful incident happened between one of our guests and his private guest in one of the rooms of the hotel,” Head of security service Zaza Kvaratskhelia said. “I would like to stress that according to our regulations, a stranger cannot enter the hotel room without the permission of the hotel guest,” he added.
To this end the Bureau of Expertise noted that after they prepare and produce the preliminary conclusion of investigation, it will be up to the investigation exclusively to decide whether to publish the document and that the Bureau had no right to even comment on the case without the consent of the investigation.
The late Stephen Cohen was an engineer of French Company Systra and had arrived in Tbilisi two days prior to his murder.
On 18 December 2010, Systra signed the agreement with the Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava and the Head of Georgian Railway Irakli Ezugbaia to carry out a 1-mln-worth transport regulation project in Tbilisi, funded by the French Government. The project foresees revival of a tram system in the city. Systra is a public transportation company headquartered in Paris.
We tried to get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia to get more information on the case. However, the Ministry decided that it is not recommended to disclose any more information till the investigation is over.

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