A court in Morocco sentenced to death a gardener who was convicted of murdering a Jewish couple last year in Casablanca.
The Court of First Instance of the coastal city sentenced Mustapha Rerhay, 51, to death on Monday, the Le 360 news site reported, for the killing of Sam Toledano and Vicky Chetrit, a high-profile couple in the Jewish community for whom the killer had worked.
Rerhay dismembered the couple’s bodies and disposed of the parts in various places in Casablanca.
He stole jewelry and other possessions from their home in an attack police insisted was financially motivated, not a hate crime.
But the news site Diaspora Saharaui, which is critical of the government of Morocco over its occupation of Western Sahara, suggested in its reporting that the police version does not explain the mutilation of the bodies.
“Moroccan authorities tried to present the crime as motivated by greed, but a simple thief would not have mutilated the bodies and dispersed their parts across the city,” the report said, citing the rarity of cases involving mutilation in Morocco.
Noting the couple’s high profile within the Jewish community, the news site urged Moroccan police to examine alternative motives for the crimes.
Rerhay was arrested soon after the July 2016 murders, and reportedly confessed to the crime, which he said he committed due to financial hardship.
He was said to have been facing eviction from his apartment when he hatched a plan to kill the couple and steal their money and jewelry.
Using ultra-violet light, police officers were able to find traces of blood the killer had attempted to clean up, according to Le360.
The gardener was quickly identified as the prime suspect.
The police retrieved the couple’s remains within 24 hours of the arrest, according to the report.