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American charged with aggravated murder of wife in France

LE PECQ, France (AP) — A Brooklyn man who told French police investigators that he killed his wife by stabbing her twice during an argument has been charged with her murder, a prosecutor said Monday. The French-American, identified in French media reports as Billy Kruger, told investigators that he acted in self-defense, Marie-Agnès Joly, a prosecutor in the southwest city of Narbonne, told The Associated Press.

Kruger was placed under formal investigation Sunday on a preliminary charge of aggravated murder and ordered held in jail, pending a possible trial. The body of his wife, 52-year-old Laure Bardina-Kruger, was found Friday in Peyriac-de-Mer, on the Mediterranean coast, south of Narbonne.

The couple lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he is a diving instructor and she worked as a teacher, Joly said. The couple had a holiday home in Peyriac-de-Mer, and police found the wife’s body hidden in the storm drain nearby.

The husband was detained Friday as he was preparing to fly from Toulouse, bound for Jakarta, the prosecutor said. The couple had been expected to fly out together. The wife’s parents raised the alarm after they were unable to reach the couple by phone ahead of the flight. Police sent to the couple’s home found that the wife’s belongings were still there. They then learned that the husband had checked into the flight alone. He was arrested in the boarding zone of the airport.

During police questioning, the man said he stabbed his wife twice, the prosecutor said. He said they’d been arguing and he put forward “a vague” explanation of self-defense, she said. The investigation is continuing.

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