Skydiver Accused Of Murdering Love Rival During Jump - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Skydiver Accused Of Murdering Love Rival During Jump

BRUSSELS — A jealous skydiver caught up in a love triangle allegedly sabotaged the parachute of her close friend, Belgian prosecutors said Friday, sending the woman plunging 13,000 feet (4,500 meters) to her death in a horrifying fall captured on video.

As her murder trial opened Friday, Els Clottemans sat nervously in front of the mudcaked parachute bag and helmet that Els Van Doren wore as she frantically tried to open her parachute before crashing to the ground in November 2006.

Clottemans, a 26-year-old schoolteacher, has vehemently denied the murder charge and accusations she killed her friend to claim for herself the Dutch skydiver that both were sleeping with. Her lawyers say there is no hard evidence to link her to the crime.

In a 68-page indictment, the prosecution said Clottemans had both the time and the knowledge to sabotage the parachute and asserted that eliminating a romantic rival was the motive.

Chief defense lawyer Vic Van Aelst said prosecutors "have nothing" to tie his client to the death.

"It cannot be true that you condemn someone to the most serious punishment based on claims and declarations," Van Aelst said.

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