American murder suspect extradited to Czech Republic

Kevin Dahlgren has been transferred from Prague to Brno, photo: CTK

American national Kevin Dahlgren is back on Czech soil, following a ruling by the US State Department allowing his extradition. The 23-year-old is the sole suspect in a quadruple-murder of a family in Brno in May 2013; a court is now to rule on whether he will be remanded in custody.

Kevin Dahlgren has been transferred from Prague to Brno,  photo: CTK
On May 22, 2013, firefighters discovered four bodies in a home in Brno-Ivančice, South Moravia. Murdered were two parents and their sons, distant relatives of American Kevin Dahlgren. He had been staying with the family according to past reports, and forensic evidence linking him to the scene of the crime was found by investigators. By then the sole suspect had already fled, catching a plane from Vienna to Washington. When he landed, the FBI was already waiting.

The suspect’s family hired Theodore Simon, best-known for representing Amanda Knox. For the last two years or so, his legal team fought the extradition request. Czech TV reported early Monday that all legal options had been exhausted and that there were no longer any obstacles blocking the suspect’s return, which was indeed the case just hours later. According to more than a few legal experts the decision is a remarkable one, given that the United States rarely allows the extradition of its own citizens. Michal Tomášek, the deputy head of Charles University’s Faculty of Law, spoke to Czech TV earlier.

“This is a very rare step. The US usually does not favour the extradition of its own citizens even in cases as serious as this. Factors which may have been important here are how the case was handled by the Czech Justice Department, for which they should be congratulated. The second is also cooperation of the Czech Republic when it comes to extradition of its own suspects to the US. Both of those factors may have played a role.”

Kevin Dahlgren,  photo: CTK
Asked about similar precedents, the vice-rector made clear there weren’t many. Michal Tomášek again:

“I can remember a case the US allowed the extradition of suspects facing terrorism charges to countries such as France or other countries. But off-the-cuff I cannot remember a case when they allowed the extradition of someone accused of a crime such as this.”

A Czech court will now rule whether Mr Dahlgren will be remanded in custody. If found guilty of the four murders, the suspect could face life in prison; already being discussed are questions of whether the 21-year-old would have to serve his time in the Czech Republic or might be allowed to do so in the United States, instead.