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May 19, 2009
the Palace of Versailles
It took the French government 14 years to bring American expatriate Barrie Taylor to justice for the 1993 murder of her lover's estranged wife. After three trials and three convictions in France for the murder, Taylor continues her fight to be allowed to live freely in the United States.
Thursday, September 30, 1993. It was going to be a quiet day in Versailles, France's "City of Kings." Or so the cops at the local station house told themselves. The trains pulling in from nearby Paris would not be bringing hordes of day trippers to the chateau of Marie Antoinette, France's last queen, as they do at the height of summer. Not that the tourists brought crime to the town, but their coaches did snarl up traffic, and pickpockets were prone to try their luck in front of the palace. It was also a cool, rainy day and the town's street markets would not attract many shoppers. There would therefore be few rogue street vendors to round up.
Boulevard de la République, a street lined with trees and elegant Belle Époque era townhouses, and only a few blocks from the magnificent chateau, was indeed quiet as a small white police automobile, its siren silent, drove up to Number 20, one of six three-storied brick and stone terraced houses. The automobile had four passengers; three uniformed cops and a young man. For the young man, Marc Pavageau, it was his second visit to the house in as many days.
One of the cops knocked at the house’s front door; in France cops and firefighters know never to ring a doorbell, but always to knock in case there is a gas leak inside the property.