An autumn morning that is out of the ordinary. In the small village of Gray-la-Ville, in Haute-Saône, the disappearance of a 29-year-old “jogger” made headlines on October 28, 2017. Police searches were immediately initiated to find the young woman, to whom add citizen drives organized by the family.
Among the protagonists of the case, five people: the parents of Alexia Daval née Fouillot, the missing, Jean-Pierre and Isabelle Fouillot. Her sister and her brother-in-law, Stéphanie and Grégory Gay, and finally, Jonathann Daval, her husband.
48 hours after the start of the excavations, the body of Alexia Fouillot was found hidden under branches in the wood of Esmoulins, a few kilometers from the village where she lived. The body of the young woman is partially charred, and the autopsy reveals the causes of death: she was beaten and then strangled with her bare hands.
After several months playing the role of the grieving widower, Jonathann Daval ends up confessing to the murder of his wife. Two years later, he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for intentional homicide of a spouse.
But what was the motive of this man who never ceased to proclaim loud and clear his love for Alexia? Me Randall Schwerdorffer, lawyer for Jonathann Daval, assures us that the couple had “a fairly ordinary daily life”.
“But in the proximity of the criminal facts, the couple gets along rather badly, we can say that we are in a phase which could be assimilated to a phase of separation”, adds the lawyer, affirming that the two lovebirds didn’t have the same way of showing their affection to each other.
“We can see that Jonathann Daval was very careful in his way of addressing her, he wrote her well-chosen words with turns like ‘my heart’, ‘my love’, and Alexia was much colder”, articulates the murderer’s advice.
For all, however, the couple seemed to spin the perfect love…
In everyone’s eyes, Alexia and Jonathann were having happy days. Married in 2015, the couple had been dating since they were 16 and 21 and were together for eleven years before saying “I do”. Over the years, Jonathann has established a very strong relationship with his in-laws, to the point of being accepted as a son among the Fouillots.
Only here: between the walls of their house in Gray-la-Ville, in Haute-Saône, the reality is quite different. The couple have been trying unsuccessfully to have a child for several years. An infertility that Alexia reproached her husband with violence and humiliation, according to the latter…
According to the murderer’s lawyer, Alexia blamed Jonathann for his absences, his lack of demonstration, his inability to have sexual intercourse… And therefore to have a child. “It’s THE big subject of argument, big subject of criticism from Alexia towards Jonathann. Some even wondered if he really wanted to have a child, I don’t know,” continues the man. of law.
If no one witnessed physical or verbal violence, we see in their exchanges of messages that there was aggressive behavior, according to Jonathann Daval’s lawyer. But what happened on the night of the tragedy?
According to Jonathann Daval, it all starts when he refuses to make love with his wife. “There were no witnesses so we only know what Jonathann Daval told us, we can’t go beyond”, however, nuances the lawyer.
During his trial, in November 2020, Jonathann Daval alluded to his erectile dysfunction despite high-dose prescribed treatment. According to him, Alexia reproached him for no longer wanting her and would have insulted him.
There, the thirties would have liked to leave the home, following which his wife would have forbidden him to leave before biting him. A trigger, according to the murderer, who then went into a rage and gave her five to ten blows, before strangling her to shut up.
At the bar of the court, Jonathann Daval recognizes an outburst of violence and admits to having wanted to kill his wife.
Throughout the investigation, the couple’s sex life is scrutinized. In March 2019, the subject came back to the fore when the couple’s home, unoccupied and under seal, was robbed… An “astonishing” burglary, in the words of the lawyer…
One fine day, Jonathann Daval is taken to his home as part of an excavation. When they open the drawer of the victim’s bedside table, the investigators note the presence of an erotic dice and vibrating rings… But according to Jonathann Daval, two sex toys are missing. Sex toys that the murderer describes as “classic pink” and “silver love balls”.
The young woman’s wedding ring, the couple’s wedding album and a camcorder also disappeared. If the Fouillot family was able to suspect the Daval family and vice versa, it is not so, according to Mr. Schwerdorffer. “The information I had at the same time was that it was a third person who committed this theft,” he adds.
This discovery gives rise to new revelations from Jonathann Daval…
The 30-year-old says his wife locked herself in their bedroom to “replace him with his sex toys”. The analysis of the young woman’s phone reveals very virulent exchanges with her husband, where Alexia Fouillot exerts pressure on her husband, whom she considers responsible for the couple’s failures to have a child. Jonathann assures that his wife had an “overwhelming” and “violent” personality.