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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995



The tiny, perched village of Castellar has a mysterious murder in its past, with the assassination of "Pierre le berger" in August of 1991. Pierre was a handsome young shepherd who roamed the hills on his trail bike, and who had some bitter enemies, no doubt acerbated by Pierre's outspoken anti-hunting sentiments in a land with strong hunting traditions in the local families. There were especially strong feelings and strong words between him and the dominant family of the village. On that August 17th morning long ago while Pierre was riding through the hills, he was shot in the back and then finished off with a coup-de-grace.

Because of some very open antagonism between Pierre and one particular local family, and especially because of some very pointed threats expressed a couple of days prior to the event, the police had some strong suspects. "Pierre" was Pierre Leschiera, 33 years old at the time of his assassination. He was a local boy, but had gone away for his studies in agriculture, then spent two years in Africa before returning to his homeland.

Fourteen years later (2005), the assassination of "Pierre le berger" resembles, to Beyond, the Dominici Affair. In that affair, which a movie was made of, one member of the family was convicted and executed, but nobody knows who the murderer really was.

In the Castellar assassination, there's a similar situation of family members accusing each other or supporting each other. One suspect was tried in 2002 and found not guilty for lack of evidence. He had been a suspect partly because he had allegedly threatened a couple of days earlier: "one of these days I'm going to put a bullet in your head".

In 2005-2006, though, the authorities apparently are planning to re-try the person previously found not guilty, and to have another independent trial of a different family member for the same crime. Two trials for the same crime, while it's thought that only one person was actively involved, will be unique in France.

Monday, 2 April 2007: A trial is starting today in Nice for the case of "Pierre le berger".