Prosecutors want life imprisonment for "Crazy Pierre"

Prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for a man accused of killing two girls and a woman three years ago in a series of macabre murders.

Pierre Bodein - nicknamed "Pierrot le fou," or "Crazy Pierre" - is accused of killing and mutilating the bodies of Jeanne-Marie Kegelin, 11, Julie Scharsch, 14, and Edwige Vallee, 38, and of the attempted kidnapping of two more girls in June 2004.

The prosecution said Bodein, who has spent more than 30 years in jail and psychiatric institutions since 1969, savagely murdered and mutilated the three victims in various locations in Alsace, near France's border with Germany. One of the bodies was found floating in a creek, another in a vineyard.

Eighteen other members of the Yenish community - a group of travelers settled in caravans in eastern France - joined Bodein in court as co-defendants accused of various degree of complicity in the crimes. The prosecutors, Manon Brignole and Olivier Bailly, demanded jail terms ranging from 3 to 30 years.

All of the accused have denied any wrongdoing in the closely-watched trial lasting three months.

Judges are not obliged to follow prosecutors' recommendations. The verdict was expected later this week.

Police pointed fingers at Bodein, 59, after finding blood from one of the victims in his car and his blood on her bicycle. They also located Bodein in the area through his mobile phone, and received witness statements linking him to the crimes.

Bodein was conditionally released three months before allegedly committing the murders, after serving more than a decade of a 28-year sentence for various crimes. The sentence was later reduced to 20 years, and Bodein received parole in March 2004, despite warnings from doctors.

Bodein has a history of psychiatric problems, including bouts of schizophrenia in the 1970s, and once escaped from a hospital to set off on a crime spree that included violent attacks against a girl and an elderly woman.