Peace Corps has issued the following statement:
“The trial in the matter of the 2009 homicide of Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey concluded in Benin on February 25, 2017.
“Along with her family and friends, we continue to mourn the loss of Kate and we offer them our deepest sympathies during this difficult time. Today and every day, we honor Kate, whose memory is never far from our minds as we continue to build a stronger, more effective Peace Corps. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a Peace Corps that is worthy of Kate’s legacy.
The Peace Corps and the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General appreciate the support of the State Department, Justice Department, FBI and the Government of Benin. “https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/library/peace-corps-statement-conclusion-trial-2009-“homicide-peace-corps-benin-volunteer-kate-puzey/
The official statement makes no mention on the outcome. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports there was an acquittal in the conclusion of the trial. Read the article at :
http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/28/accused-killers-of-peace-corps-volunteer-from-georgia-acquitted/ Here is the text of that article:
Accused killers of Peace Corps volunteer from Georgia acquitted
Greg Bluestein, Tamar Hallerman, Jim Galloway
“Fresh out of surgery and recovering at home this weekend, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson may have suffered one of the most disappointing setbacks of his career. More than 5,000 miles away, in the west African country of Benin, the four men accused in the 2009 murder of 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey of Georgia were acquitted on Saturday and set free.
“The trial lasted two full days. In the end, they were all let go,” said Isakson, still slightly hoarse from the after-effects of his four-day hospital stay last week.
Because the trial coincided with his surgery, Isakson was unable to make it to the court house. In his stead went U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma. Puzey’s mother, Lois, and brother, David, bore witness as well. The case has been largely forgotten — I haven’t found a single international wire report on the verdict. The Peace Corps has issued a terse statement acknowledging the outcome.
Kate Puzey, who graduated from high school in Cumming, was an English instructor in a Benin village when, on Feb. 9, 2009, she sent an email to the country’s Peace Corps director. She reported that Constant Bio, who taught at Kate’s school and was regularly hired to put together to Peace Corps training sessions, was molesting local girls.
Word at headquarters leaked out. Jacques Bio, brother of Constant Bio, was an associate director for Peace Corps Benin.
One month later, Puzey was found dead on her front porch. Her throat had been slit.
The Bio brothers and two others were arrested. Isakson attended Puzey’s funeral, uninvited – and would spend the next seven years pushing Benin authorities to put Puzey’s accused killers on trial. He made three trips to Benin. He delivered a letter from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country’s president. He visited the minister of justice. The FBI was made available.
In the meantime, Isakson developed a close relationship with Kate’s parents – to the point that Lois Puzey was featured in a 2016 campaign ad for Isakson. (Harry Puzey, Kate’s father, has since died of cancer.)
In our interview, Isakson noted that Benin’s legal system has its origins in the French, or Napoleonic system. Criminal trials are bench trials. There is no jury.
“I believe in the rule of law. We just didn’t have the influence to get the information that we needed to be heard before the court,” Isakson said.
Despite the outcome, the senator said he hoped the trial provided some closure for the Puzey family. In 2011, Isakson sponsored Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The measure increased protections for Peace Corps volunteers who are victims of violence, including sexual assault.
“I feel some self-satisfaction about that even if the verdict didn’t go our way,” Isakson said.
The senator, by the way, said his surgery – to fuse two discs in his lower back – was a success and that he intends to be back in Washington next Monday.”
Thank you to RPCV Bruce McDonald for this information and link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Bruce and his wife, Stormy, served in Bulgaria 2002 – 2004. He is the author of their Peace Corps memoir “A Breeze in Bulgaria” reviewed here:http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/review-16/
“Murder In Benin: Kate Puzey’s Death in the Peace Corps”
by Aaron Kase (Burkina Faso 2006-08) is an excellent account this tragedy.