Haitian witch and voodoo rites: a woman tried in 2023 for the assassination of her wife

The corpse did not fit in the trunk. The BMW therefore pulled out of the basement of a Parisian building on March 23, 2019, with the body in the back seat. After 45 minutes of highways and secondary roads, the three murderers took out the body and cleaned his nails and teeth with antibacterial gel – Sylvia Gbesset had struggled, biting and scratching them. And then they abandoned it like that, in the middle of an undergrowth in Villiers-Adam (Val-d’Oise), under a pile of branches, waste and pallets.

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The body of Sylvia Gbesset was not found by a worker until a month later. A month too late? Opened by the Pontoise public prosecutor’s office, the investigation for “voluntary homicide” was hard pressed to establish who had killed her. Because, faced with the withered body of this 37-year-old woman, the forensic doctors could not even say what she had died of. Six months later, the gendarmes of Versailles (Yvelines) will however have gathered enough elements to confuse three suspects: Christy Daupin, the wife of the deceased, Sabrina Moreau, Christy’s mistress, and finally Iven Webster, his best friend. Faced with overwhelming evidence, all three were sent to the Paris Assize Court for “murder”, according to the indictment order of Parisian investigating judge Saida Kelati, whom Marianne was able to consult. For months, this trio sought to conceal their crime. This assassination plan was born in a bad cocktail of jealousy, revenge and delusional superstitious beliefs.

twins and witches

Separated, cold, constantly arguing, Sylvia Gbesset, an employee at Leroy Merlin, and Christy Daupin, a machinist at the RATP, had been sleeping apart for months in their apartment in Paris. They were married at the end of 2014, a year after the promulgation of the Taubira law extending marriage to homosexual and lesbian couples. But over time, Sylvia could no longer bear Christy’s fits of jealousy and paranoia. Suspecting infidelity, the 39-year-old went so far as to install spyware on her phone. She also reproached him for wanting sole custody of their children, Étienne* and Émilien*, twins, born following a artificial insemination abroad in 2013. Christy, too, wanted to exercise her rights as a mother. But Sylvia, the biological mother, was dragging out the adoption procedure.

She had her reasons. Admittedly, she had fallen in love with Ambre, her beautiful green-eyed colleague from Leroy Merlin in Rueil-Malmaison – she often went to bed. But Christy’s mental state also alarmed him a lot. Under the influence of his best friend “Hoodies” – Iven Webster of his real name – the native of Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe, went completely adrift. To this 26-year-old Haitian cook, who arrived in France shortly before adulthood, Christy seemed to lend supernatural powers, such as that of killing a person without touching them. Also superstitious, Iven Webster ends up persuading her that his wife is practicing black magic with her new lover, that she wants to harm the children, that she wants to remove their organs, but also to make her lose her job. at the RAPT. He then presents the only solution to his problems: he must “unbewitch” His beloved. Christy accepts. To do this, he solicits a voodoo priestess who lives in Haiti and practices witchcraft rites. Her name: Marlene Paul.

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From her many conversations in Creole with this “witch” on the phone, Christy emerges changed. Everything is explained now. The estrangement from his wife is not natural, but the mark of ” Devil “. Ambre, the lover, is not a chance encounter; she bewitched Sylvia in order to regain custody of the children, of course. Christy goes to another dimension. She scatters small papers with verses from the Bible in the apartment. In her text messages to her close friends, Sylvia is renamed “Babylon” Where “devil”. And the threats rain down: “Babylon needs to die”. In the middle of the night, Christy gets up and, like a sleepwalker, approaches the sofa where Sylvia is sleeping, to threaten her with death, out loud. Except that Sylvia hears everything… And twice, when she wants to break up or leave, Christy hits her.

Sylvia confides in her mother and her sisters. Why she did not seek to flee at this stage, the investigation does not say. But who could still believe that she still wanted her “ex” to legally become the mother of the twins? Unsurprisingly, the Haitian priestess’ remote spell-binding works quite poorly: Sylvia remains in Amber’s arms. Christy will explain to investigators that her “Haitian contacts” would have devised a plan to unbewitch her themselves. Voodoo rules oblige, it had to take place “in a dark place” in “obstructing vision” of the victim. Iven had to pray in Creole. Christy, hold the victim. Sabrina, his lover since mid-2018, will also participate. Out of love for Christy.

From voodoo to assassination

The ritual was to take place on March 23, 2019. That evening, shortly after 10 p.m., Christy asks Sylvia to go down with her to the building’s underground garage, under the pretext of helping her retrieve shopping bags from the car’s trunk. But a trap awaits him in the second basement: Sabrina Moreau and Iven Webster are hiding in a recess, squatting. They refueled the car, put on dark sportswear. As soon as he arrives, they throw themselves on Sylvia. She struggles, bites, claws. They tackle her to the ground. Christy shoves a Franprix shopping bag over his head.

Facing the investigators, their versions of what happens next diverge a bit. Iven, for her part, recounts that Christy punched Sylvia twice while he belted her. Sabrina, on the contrary, says that Iven punches her several times in the stomach and she loses consciousness. Christy and Sabrina both say that Iven goes all out punching the victim astride the floor of the parking lot. Before trying things with your hands: “I don’t know if I should call it a strangulation or a ritetestifies Christy. You could believe he was suffocating her. » Sylvia wouldn’t have died right away. She would have laughed. “Looks like she had the demon in her”observes Sabrina.

Did those punches kill her? The Franprix bag or the hands of Iven Webster that suffocated her? The autopsy ruled out the possibility that the punches to the abdomen could have been fatal. At the same time, the body was so degraded that it is impossible to be certain that she suffocated to death. “When it was over, we took Sylvia and put her in the car. We left for [nous en] rid… “ pursues Iven in front of the examining magistrate. He assures him that he was pushed to do it by his friends. They, on the contrary, say that he was the chief operator of this “disenchantment session”which would have gone wrong.

Ambush and premeditation

But the facts are more down to earth. For the investigating judge, “homicidal intent” is “characterized” as well as premeditation: everything converges in the direction of a preparation, the refueling of the car, the ambush tense on the stairs, the concealment of the body… During 2020, during a reconstitution, Sabrina will end up confessing : it was not just a question of unbewitching her but of killing her. The fadettes of the telephones were speaking. Thus, in an intercepted conversation between Xavier, brother of the main suspect, and an interlocutor, Xavier assures us that his sister Christy did indeed want to kill Sylvia by resorting to witchcraft: “His wife was cheating on her, she wanted to do witchcraft to [la] kill “, he says. As for Iven Webster, he remains, according to the investigators, in a logic of “guilt”: “Although he expresses sadness and regret, he still seeks to justify the action by the violent behavior of [Sylvia] towards her friend”writes the examining magistrate.

So certainly, in front of the investigators, everyone discards a little on this mysterious Haitian witch. She would be the sponsor. It would be on her indications that they would have had the idea to spy on her, then to unbewitch her, then to kill her, then to hide the body in the forest. Other elements, more ringing and stumbling, however, accredit a real role: in the months following the crime, all three continue to send tidy sums to Haiti, apparently to the son of the priestess: Christy sends 1,300 euros, Iven the same sum, and Sabrina will pay nearly 3,800 euros. “I realize that the three of us got our heads together” admits Sabrina speaking of the priestess.

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But if there is a Haitian witch, she will not sit in the dock: all investigations in Haiti have proved impossible. The Department of Justice has a terrible relationship with its counterpart in the Caribbean state. There is no operational contact on site. “Judicial cooperation is particularly complicated with this country where the rule of law is in the process of collapsing”sighs Master Maxime Cessieux, one of the lawyers for the family of the deceased. “However, it was obvious that this voodoo priestess is the real investigator of the murder” fulminates a defense lawyer. Who also regrets that no ethnopsychiatrist was dispatched to try to bring to light the spiritual, or operational, influence of this Haitian on this criminal act. Was this witch a push-for-crime? Or is it just an excuse provided by the protagonists for a crime they were ready to commit anyway? Answers, perhaps, at the Paris Assize Court, from March 28, 2023.

*Names have been changed.

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Haitian witch and voodoo rites: a woman tried in 2023 for the assassination of her wife

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