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DEFENDANT IS ACCUSED OF KILLING 42 FEMALES

Hundreds of people packed a Sumatra courthouse today and watched the proceedings on TV monitors outside at the opening of a trial of a so-called sorcerer accused of killing 42 females.

In the courtroom, a prosecutor began reading a 263-page dossier of charges and evidence against Ahmad Suradji, who was arrested in April after dozens of bodies were dug up.

Suradji, 42, has allegedly confessed to the ritual murders of the 42 females, ages 12 to 30,over the past 11 years.

Police have claimed he told them that each murder increased his powers of witchcraft. He wanted to kill 70 women as ordered by his dead father during a dream, investigators have said.

If convicted, Suradji could face the death penalty, which in Indonesia is carried out by firing squad.

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