By Calvin Palmer
A French prisoner appeared in court today and admitted killing his cellmate and then eating part of the man’s lung.
Nicolas Cocaign, 39, appeared in court in the northern city of Rouen for allegedly killing Thierry Baudry in January 2007 by punching and kicking him, stabbing him with a pair of scissors and suffocating him with a rubbish bag.
Cocaign then allegedly sliced open Baudry’s chest with a razor blade, removed a rib and pulled out an organ which he believed was the man’s heart, but which in fact was a lung.
He is accused of eating part of the lung raw and then frying the rest of it with some onions on a makeshift cooker in the cell in the Rouen prison.
“I wanted to take his soul,” Cocaign, who at the time of the crime was in custody awaiting trial for attempted armed robbery, allegedly told an investigating judge probing the case.
Baudry’s mutilated body was found January 3, 2007 by a Rouen prison guard, and an autopsy revealed two chest muscles and part of his left lung were missing.
Cocaign was serving a sentence for attempted rape while armed, while Baudry was in prison for sexual assault.
Defense lawyer Fabien Picchiottino said his client had repeatedly asked to be committed to a psychiatric ward before the killing, but his requests were turned down by authorities.
Baudry’s mother said she had long dreaded seeing Cocaign in person.
“I want to know why he did this to my son,” Jacqueline Baudry said. “I want him to pay.”
The court heard Cocaign’s history since the age of three when he was adopted and his various run-ins with the law.
Cocaign, whose face is tattooed with images including bloody tears and a skull, faces life in prison. A verdict is expected on Thursday.
A third inmate, David Lagrue, was present in the cell during the attack. Lagrue, who was initially suspected of complicity but was later cleared, committed suicide last year in another prison.