Jehovah’s Witness wants to ‘trust’ husband on trial for trying to kill her

Linen shirt with colored stripes, white skirt and long braided brown hair, the wife of Philippe Goncalves, tried since Monday before the Assize Court of Seine-et-Marne for attempted assassination, does not evade any question, concerned about understand the reasons why she was shot in the head at the end of a love and summer picnic in Champs-sur-Marne, June 4, 2017.

Miraculously, she survived. From this drama, she keeps as a sequel a “hollow” at the level of the top of the cranial box.

Her husband, a building contractor, 39 years old like her, is in the dock.

He is suspected of having shot his wife and then asked an accomplice, hidden in the woods, to shoot him in the shoulder to disguise the crime as an assault. An accusation that this man persists in denying.

At that time, the couple was experiencing turbulence.

A few days after the tragedy and his hospitalization, husband and wife meet at their home.

While they are entwined in their bed, she confides to him: “you know, for me it’s weird because you asked me to turn over and that’s when I take the projectile”. “He answered me sufficiently calmly and frankly, he told me that it was not him”, explains the woman at the helm on Wednesday.

– And the fact that he says that it is not him, that was enough?, asks the president of the court, Muriel Josié.

– At that time, that was enough for me, confesses the wife.

Today, the miraculous considers herself “collateral victim of his own problems”, evoking the hypothesis of revenge carried out by a creditor of her husband, for debts of which she was not aware at the time.

She considers that there is “no explanation” for the thesis of an attempted murder on the part of a man with whom she “never felt in danger”.

Throughout the testimony of his wife, Philippe Goncalves remains silent, attentive and impassive.

Excommunication “on a case-by-case basis”

They were 19 when they met in 2002. While engaged in a course to become a psychomotor therapist, she was depressed.

His meeting “saved her from a painful existence”, believes the psychologist who carried out her first expertise.

She has a certain admiration for Philippe Goncalves, follows him on his spiritual journey and converts to the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a rigorous movement regularly accused of sectarian aberrations. This admiration creates in her “an internal conflict” with “the fact that he can attempt his life”, estimated the psychologist.

After a marriage and a baptism in 2004, the couple articulates their life around faith and professional activities, he as an entrepreneur, she as a part-time hostess and French teacher at home. By mutual agreement, they choose not to have children.

Their thirteen years of common life have been described as being without incident, except for the temptations of the husband for extramarital relations which will enamel their good agreement for the first time in 2015, then again in 2017.

At this time, the rapprochements of Philippe Goncalves with a colleague revive the jealousy of his wife.

One of the avenues favored by the prosecution is the risk of excommunication from Jehovah’s Witnesses that a divorce from his wife would have posed.

A representative of the cult said on the stand on Wednesday that divorce was accepted within the community and that excommunications were done “on a case-by-case basis”.

The entrepreneur, he maintains his version: the couple was targeted by a mysterious shooter. He would have opened fire on them from the undergrowth, about forty meters from the tree under which they picnicked and read the Bible.

“I want to trust my husband despite everything. Given the context, it becomes difficult”, confided the wife who “lives in incomprehension for four years”.

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