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Men charged after deadly Mallorca brawl confronted in court by victim’s family

A fight over a bar stool on the Spanish island left one man dead and nine charged with manslaughter, assault and brawling. 

LELYSTAD, Netherlands (CN) — The courtroom in the central Dutch city of Lelystad was completely full Wednesday as the girlfriend, parents and friends of 27-year-old Carlo Heuvelman told the court on Wednesday how traumatizing his death was and demanded answers from the nine suspects on trial.

"Today is 452 days since Carlo passed away. The love of my life," Lisa, identified only by her first name for privacy reasons, told the court. She stood just feet away from the defendants, eight of whom were present. One of the men was ill. 

Three men have been charged with manslaughter, and the remaining six are facing charges of assault and disorderly conduct over a brawl on the Spanish island of Mallorca last summer. Both defendant and victims — all Dutch nationals — were on vacation when the fight started over a bar stool. All of the defendants are between the ages of 18 and 20. 

A Spanish judge requested the Netherlands take over the legal proceedings under a 1959 treaty letting European countries request legal assistance from one another, including shifting a trial to another jurisdiction. 

Under Dutch law, the victims and relatives of serious crimes can give victim impact statements, describing the repercussions of their experiences and loss. Carlo’s girlfriend and his parents were present in the courtroom to speak, and several of his friends, including some who were there on the night of his death, submitted written statements read aloud by their lawyer. 

“What did Carlo do to you that evening? What? He's been kicked to death. What has he done to you? I hope to get an answer someday,” Carlo’s mother, whose entire name has been withheld for privacy reasons, told the defendants. 

The group has been notoriously reticent about what exactly happened the night of July 13-14, 2022. When the trial opened last week, one of the judges told the suspects to “man up” and take responsibility. 

While the group admits to involvement in the violent encounter, and video footage shows several of the defendants shoving and punching victims, it is unclear who delivered the fatal blow to Heuvelman. A Spanish medical examiner found that he was likely killed by a deliberate injury, but it was possible Heuvelman sustained his fatal head injury while falling during the attack. Since the trial opened, the court has spent days going through the evidence available against each suspect in an effort to get to the bottom of what transpired. 

Prosecutors say Sanil B.'s shoe was carrying the DNA of Heuvelman but defense lawyers dispute that assertion. The defense likewise disputes the claim by authorities that the DNA of another seriously injured victim whose name has not been released was found meanwhile on the shoes of both Sanil B. and Hein B.

Next week, prosecutors will announce their demand for sentencing if the men are convicted.

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