Senegalese migrant Cheik Tidiane Diaw was arrested for the murder of Ashley Olsen after the American artist was found dead in her Florence, Italy, apartment on Saturday. The illegal immigrant had confessed to assaulting the woman after they had consensual sex, but now his lawyer is stating that Diaw left the woman alive that night.
The fight is said to have taken place in the early morning hours of Friday, January 8, after Olsen had taken the man home from a local bar and they had sex. However, when she was trying to tell him to leave afterwards the two got into a fight and 27-year-old Cheik admitted that he punched Ashley in the face and neck but had no intention of killing her. In fact, he is adamant that he actually helped her to bed and left her alive in the apartment. He did take her cellphone as he exited however, and this helped police to track him down.
USA Today reported that the lawyer defending the Senegalese man, Antonio Voce, states that at the time of his client’s departure, Olsen was only moaning that she felt unwell and reiterates that Diaw did not want to kill or hurt the artist. Diaw’s confession of assaulting the 35-year-old American by punching her also claims that it was an alcohol and drug-induced mind that caused the incident.
Diaw’s arrest for suspicion of murder came after the police investigating the murder found his DNA to be a match for a used condom and cigarette found in the apartment of the deceased woman. A press conference that Florence Prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo gave on Thursday revealed that Diaw’s DNA was also found under Olsen’s fingernails. The prosecutor also corroborated the suspect’s story and stated that evidence showed the sex between the two parties was consensual, even though Olsen was in a relationship.
It was that relationship which allegedly sparked the argument between Ashley Olsen and Cheik Tidiane Diaw. Fear that her boyfriend would discover them spurred Olsen into attempting to get Diaw out of her home as soon as possible after they had sex. Voce sopke to NBC News and mentioned, “She told him ‘please go away.'” Voce continued to explain that after Olsen pushed his client to the door and turned her back to him he punched her in the back of her head. A struggling match is said to have followed where Voce believes two fractures Olsen is said to have received, may have been obtained. However, Diaw claims that the violence ended there and after the American fell he picked her up by the neck and put her in the bed and left, as per her wishes.
It was Olsen’s boyfriend, Italian-born artist Federico Fiorentini, who discovered her naked body in her apartment after he convinced her landlord to let him in. It had been a few days since Fiorentini had heard from her following an argument. The body of the American had scratches and bruises all along her neck and the initial suspicion that she had been strangled was later confirmed after an autopsy. Creazzo stated that the autopsy also showed Olsen had suffered from two skull fractures and a rope or cord-like object was used to strangle her with after the blow to the head.
After news of the American artist’s murder in Italy broke, speculations abounded that the cause of her death may have been something sexual, but prosecutors remain certain that it was not a “sex game gone wrong” that caused Olsen’s death. The possibility is believed to have been thought up because of the last time Italy had such attention from Americans due to a murder was the discredited Italian trial of American Amanda Knox in 2007. In that case, a British woman, Meredith Kercher, was killed and Knox, her roommate, and her boyfriend were accused by the Italian police of killing her during a sex game gone wrong.
The fact that Giacinto Profazio, the Italian detective who was in charge of the 2007 investigation into Amanda Knox is assigned to the case of Olsen may also be influencing the similarities people have been making regarding Ashley Olsen’s murder case.
Ashley Olsen’s funeral will reportedly be held on Friday afternoon at the Santo Spirito church in Florence, Italy.
[Photo Courtesy of Maurizio Degl’Innocenti/AP Images/Italian State Police]