Friday, May 24, 2013

An Extradition Case

The Accused
On the 23rd, it was all over the news here that the authorities were looking for an American in connection with a brutal crime.  The joke at work was that my team wanted to turn me in for the reward.

The horrible thing is that what happened was no joke.  Here's what happened.  A 20-year old chap name Kevin Dahlgren from Palo Alto, California, came to visit his aunt and uncle here in Brno three weeks ago.  Apparently the guy is crazy and on the 22nd he brutally killed his aunt, uncle and their 22 and 18-year old sons.  He tried to cover up the crime by setting a fire and when firefighters discovered the crime scene they notified the police.

Meanwhile, he traveled the 140 km (87 miles) to the Vienna Airport and caught an Austrian Airlines flight back to the USA.  The Czech authorities issued an international arrest warrant.  The pilots were alerted to the situation and upon landing at Washington Dulles Airport the plane was stormed by FBI agents who took Dahlgren in to custody.  By coincidence, one of my former employees was on the same flight.  He said that the FBI quickly had him under arrest.

Under the Czech-US extradition treaty, the Czechs have 60 days to file a formal extradition request.  Dahlgren can not be prosecuted in the USA for any crimes committed overseas so if he is not extradited then he would literally get away with murder.  If convicted in the Czech Republic then he would face life in prison.       

EDIT:  The Czech extradition request is 300 pages long.  I do want the USA to send this guy back to Brno to stand trial.  It is very interesting to see how this story is presented in the news.  Some of the press I've read clearly states that if he is extradited it would be a first.  Well yeah.  Not because the USA always rejects Czech extradition requests but because this is the first time a request has been made.  Dahlgren still maintains his innocence while being held in custody in Alexandria, Virginia.

EDIT:  On September 16, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that Dahlgren can be extradited to the Czech Republic to stand trial.  He will now get 30 days in order to appeal the ruling.  As I understand it, if upheld, the ruling allows the U.S. Department of State to extradite him.  However, it will be up to the State Dept., to decide if it will or won't send him back.

Update:  He was extradited and back in Brno on 31 August 2015. 

Update:  On 20 July 2016 he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Update:  In March 2017, the original ruling was upheld in court.

Update:  On 11 January 2018, Dahlgren killed himself in his jail cell using the bedsheets.

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