More and more details have emerged surrounding the sordid murder of American artist Ashley Ann Olsen in Florence last Saturday, the most recent of which is that the Senegalese immigrant accused of the killing is the brother of the city’s top club promoter.
Police officially charged Cheik Tidiane Diaw with the murder on Thursday, after his DNA matched that found on a used condom and a cigarette butt discovered in the woman’s apartment. The 27-year-old Diaw entered Italy illegally four months ago from Senegal, a predominantly Muslim country in West Africa.
Olsen’s body was discovered naked in her Florence apartment on Saturday, with scratches and bruises on her neck. According to a reconstruction of the incident, the pair met at a nightclub, went back to Olsen’s apartment where they had sex and then fought when Olsen asked him to leave.
Florence’s prosecutor Giuseppe Creazza said that Olsen’s killer threw her against the wall or floor, resulting in two severe skull fractures, and then finished the job by strangling her with a cord or cable.
Diaw’s own testimony confirms much of the sequence of events, and admits to punching the woman in the neck and throwing her to the ground, though he blames the woman for provoking him and denies finishing her off by strangling her, saying he “didn’t think she was dead” when he left her.
“Ashley offered me cocaine, then invited me to her house, but I didn’t want to go because I was already in a bad state,” he said. “She insisted, and then at about 6:30am we went to her place. We took other drugs. We had sex. Then she began to tell me to go away because her boyfriend was coming. She treated me like a dog, shoving me and hurting my side.”
The pair met at a sleazy nightclub called Montecarla in Florence’s Oltrarno district, which has twice had its license suspended for drug dealing, and has also run afoul of the law for brawling.
The club has been described by a local as “a place where you can find anything you are looking for: sex drugs, transsexuals” as well as “a druggy place” where you end up when “you’re completely wasted.”
Another longtime resident depicts Montecarla as the “after-, after-, afterparty” place where scantily dressed women serve coke on platters to patrons.
It now turns out that Cheik Tidiane Diaw, who reportedly already had gained a reputation for arrogance and being a “bad person,” is brother to Abraham Diaw, who works as a major club promoter in Florence.
Abraham introduced his brother into the scene, helping him get quickly established in the Florentine nightlife. Cheik Tidiane began working as a promoter himself, targeting especially American college students to frequent discotheques and clubs in the Oltrarno neighborhood.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome