Czech murder suspect appears in US court

Last updated 06:45 25/05/2013

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An American man killed his uncle, aunt and cousins in the Czech Republic and then flew to the United States, where he was arrested at an airport, authorities said today.

Citing the Czech police investigation, a federal complaint filed yesterday in Virginia seeking Kevin Dahlgren's arrest said Dahlgren killed his relatives at their home in Brno on Tuesday or Wednesday. The victims had been stabbed in the head and neck, and it appears that Dahlgren tried to burn three of the four bodies in the basement of the home, according to the complaint. Dahlgren had been living with his aunt and uncle in Brno since April 30.

Dahlgren made an initial appearance today in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. A magistrate ordered him detained pending a status hearing next week.

Prosecutor Patricia Haynes said in court that Czech authorities have not yet officially charged Dahlgren with murder. She said US authorities sought to hold Dahlgren until formal charges are filed in the Czech Republic, probably in the next 60 days.

Dahlgren, shackled in a green jail jumpsuit and guarded by two US marshals, said he expects to hire an attorney and that his parents in California would pay for the lawyer. He did not name the attorney.

When the magistrate, Theresa Carroll Buchanan, ordered Dahlgren remanded to custody at the conclusion of the brief hearing, he offered a polite "Thank you, your honor," as he was led away.

Czech police said Dahlgren was born in 1992 and released his photograph. A Facebook page showing the same photograph says Dahlgren is from Palo Alto, Calif.

The victims were found by firefighters who came to a fire two days ago in a house in Brno, the country's second-largest city.

A local band, Ukulele Orchestra jako Brno, told The Associated Press that two of its members were among the victims, but declined to comment further. Dahlgren's Facebook page contained a link to the band.

Police have declined to give details about the killings and said the motive was not known.

"Various weapons were used, but that's all I can say," police investigator Antonin Hrdlicka said. Police spokeswoman Petra Vedrova said guns were not used.

Hrdlicka said the pilots and crew of the flight from Vienna, Austria, were informed that the suspect was on board. FBI spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin said agents arrested Dahlgren yesterday at Washington Dulles International Airport, about 26 miles (40kms) west of Washington.

Czech officials have said they will seek his extradition to stand trial in the Czech Republic. They said they have 60 days to deliver evidence and other documents to US officials. If tried and convicted of committing four murders, he would face up to life in prison.

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- AP

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