The Evil Twin Defense: French Police Try To Determine Which Twin Is Serial Rapist In Marseille

170px-Chang-eng-bunker-PDFrench police are facing a bit of challenge in determining who to arrest in a series of rapes in Marseille. They have the DNA and eye-witness testimony to identify the rapist. However, when they move in to arrest the man they found two men — identical twins. Standard DNA analysis could not distinguish between the 24-year-old men and the witnesses, including a 76-year-old woman, could not determine which was the actual culprit between Yohan and Elwin.


The twins are unemployed deliverymen and police are trying to arrest one of them for six rapes of women between the ages of 22 and 76. Obviously, the twins know which is responsible but are not saying. Of course, they both could be rapists but the police still need to know which rapist to charge against which twin if that where the case. Such a determination requires an expensive DNA testing that will cost $1 million for the cash-strapped city.

We have previously see evil twin cases. This could make for an interesting criminal case if the defense challenges the slight difference in DNA coding between the twins with each suggesting that the other is the rapist in a mutually beneficial defense.

Source: Telegraph

40 thoughts on “The Evil Twin Defense: French Police Try To Determine Which Twin Is Serial Rapist In Marseille”

  1. Berliner: I don’t don’t think that French prosecutors can just nilly-willy open trial against somebody, there must be evidence that that specific person has committed that specific crime.

    There is evidence, the DNA evidence is a match. In the USA, at least, whether evidence is enough to convict is determined at TRIAL, not a priori. Evidence does not have to be conclusive in order to go to trial. Contrary to popular belief, killers can be convicted without any conclusive evidence or smoking gun, even if they claim to have alibis.

  2. @ bettykath & Gene H.: And the French version (again my emphasis)
    source: http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/content/download/1958/13719/version/3/file/Code_34.pdf

    Code de procédure pénale – Article 335

    The following people may not give evidence under oath:
    1° the father, mother or any other relative of the accused, or of one of the other accused persons present at and
    subjected to the same hearing;
    2° the son, daughter or any other descendant;
    the accused’s brothers and sisters;
    4° relations by marriage with the same degree of kinship;
    5° the husband or wife; this prohibition endures even after a divorce;
    6° the civil party;
    7° children under the age of sixteen.

  3. The potential for this type of situation is higher and wider than one might think at first blush.

    It presents challenges to absolutists:

    The best example of this would probably be the story of Chang and Eng Bunker, “the Siamese Twins,” so called because they were from Siam (now Thailand). Chang and Eng were joined by just a bit of liver and some skin. One April day in 1843, Chang married Adelaide Yates, while brother Eng married sister Sallie Yates. Based on the fact that Chang and Adelaide had 10 children, and Eng and Sallie 12, it’s fair to say the brothers had sex.

    At the autopsy of the Bunker twins, one of the anatomists opined that their active sex lives “shocked the moral sense of the community” — even though the truth is that the Bunkers’ neighbors appeared to have just accepted the situation. A little known fact is that the Bunker wives’ father originally objected to his daughters marrying the twins not because they were conjoined, but because they were Asian. (This was, after all, the antebellum American South.)

    Yet in the nineteenth century, when doctors discussed whether the twins Millie and Christina McCoy could marry, one spoke for many: “Physically there are no serious objections … but morally there was a most decided one.” When, in the 1930s, Violet Hilton sought to get a marriage license while conjoined to her sister Daisy, she was repeatedly refused.

    The same discomfort generally carries through to our own time.

    (Absolutism: Pabulum For The Insecure?). There are a lot of natural curve balls out there for absolutists to ponder.

  4. This is a mess… Nal, while I agree in principle… Your thoughts may not be far from where we are at in reality…. Not far from the truth…

  5. @ bettykath & Gene H.: I know almost nothing about French criminal law, I just extrapolated from German law:

    (source: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stpo/englisch_stpo.html#p0191)(my emphasis)

    Code of Criminal Procedure – Section 52
    [Right to Refuse Testimony on Personal Grounds]

    (1) The following persons may refuse to testify:

    1. the fiancé(e) of the accused or the person to whom the accused has made a promise to enter into a civil partnership;

    2. the spouse of the accused, even if the marriage no longer exists;

    2a. the civil partner of the accused, even if the civil partnership no longer exists;

    3. a person who is or was lineally related or related by marriage, collaterally related to the third degree or related by marriage to the second degree to the accused.

  6. Berliner,

    I second BK’s request. I am unaware of any jurisdiction where siblings are afforded testimonial privilege.

  7. “Testimonial privilege due to relationship.” Can you provide more information about this?

  8. @Tony C.: “… Charge one of them with one of the rapes, if you do not get a conviction or he can alibi out, charge the other one. …”

    How would that work? I don’t don’t think that French prosecutors can just nilly-willy open trial against somebody, there must be evidence that that specific person has committed that specific crime.

    “… If the twin on trial can prove an alibi for the first rape, charge and try the other twin, because then we know he committed the rape. …”

    The prosecutor must prove the guilt of the accused, not the accused his innocence.
    Both could stay completely silent (right not to give self-incriminating evidence and testimonial privilege due to relationship), no need to provide an alibi (without further physical evidence, which is hopefully coming, that is).

    @Philip S. Zivnuska: “… In the meantime, raise the stakes by threatening to prosecute the non rapist brother (if any) on whatever crimes obstruction/concealment may be appropriate in that juristiction. …”

    Testimonial privilege due to relationship.

  9. Raise the million for the expensive DNA testing. In the meantime, raise the stakes by threatening to prosecute the non rapist brother (if any) on whatever crimes obstruction/concealment may be appropriate in that juristiction. Apply the pressure that both will end up in jail eventually unless answers are coming now.

  10. You have multiple rape cases, so proceed anyway. Charge one of them with one of the rapes, if you do not get a conviction or he can alibi out, charge the other one. The question is whether one will go to prison for the crime of the other. If Yohan alibis Elwin under oath, Yohan commits perjury: One of them committed the rape, so Yohan is lying on the stand about his whereabouts; either he was committing the rape, or Elwin was and not where Yohan says he was. Vice versa, of course.

    If the twin on trial can prove an alibi for the first rape, charge and try the other twin, because then we know he committed the rape.

    If the first case is not resolved satisfactorily, try again with the next rape. It is not double jeopardy to try each crime as a separate case. (I don’t know if double jeopardy is even an issue in France, of course.)

  11. if they both did it justice is served if only one did it, he would admit to protect his brother. Or at least that is the way it worked for Solomon.

  12. I agree with Bud, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them had at least one victim. I don’t think given the closeness of most twins one would rat out the other. But then again I have dealt with people that would sell out their own mother to get out of a minor crime so who knows.

  13. They are both guilty of concealing evidence of a crime. The guilty one is concealing his own actions and the other is concealing his brother’s criminal activity.

  14. Maybe they took turns raping these women.
    Didn’t have to be just one of them.
    That’s why they aren’t saying.

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