Art Dealer High on Ketamine, Cocaine Choked Friend to Death With Candlestick

A young art dealer killed his friend in a haze of drugs and alcohol and is claiming he was insane at the time.

Bennet Von Vertes. LinkedIn

Bennet von Vertes, a Swiss art dealer who peddles Damien Hirsts and Warhols, claims he was insane due to a heady combination of substances—cocaine, ketamine, sleeping pills and alcohol—and therefore did not murder his friend Alex Morgan.

But will a Swiss court agree? The scion of the high-profile Zurich art dealer Lazlo von Vertes, on trial now, does not seem to dispute that he killed Morgan, then 23, in what the Daily Mail calls “an orgy of sickening violence.” Vertes is said to have stabbed Morgan with shards of glass from a broken coffee table and struck and choked his victim with a candlestick during a paranoid hallucination wherein he and Morgan were “the only people left on the planet” and Morgan was an alien trying to kill him.

This all took place in the “Gold Coast” Zurich villa of the elder Vertes in 2014. The 31-year-old dealer had supposedly developed an addiction to ketamine and cocaine around 2011, and, on the night in question, as snow fell heavily outside, consumed great quantities of drugs alone with Morgan at the chalet before the attack.

The two had attended Regents College in London together, according to the Telegraph.

The defense claims a murder charge is inappropriate due to Vertes’ temporary insanity.

According to the Mail, the younger Vertes is also currently charged in Switzerland with raping a woman. Both cases are ongoing.

Art Dealer High on Ketamine, Cocaine Choked Friend to Death With Candlestick