Trial: Life imprisonment required for alleged cop killer

Wanted for life for suspected cop killer

The main defendant (centre) in the courtroom of the district court in Kaiserslautern. photo

© Uwe Anspach/dpa

In the police murder trial, the public prosecutor’s office and the joint plaintiffs are demanding life imprisonment for the main accused. The defense speaks of “maximum bodily harm resulting in death”.

In the trial of the two police officers killed near Kusel, the public prosecutor’s office has demanded life imprisonment for the main accused. The man was guilty of two murders, said senior public prosecutor Stefan Orthen on Tuesday in his plea to the Kaiserslautern district court. In fact, several murder characteristics were met and the act had “execution character” – therefore there was a particular severity of guilt, said Orthen.

Around five months after the start of the trial, the allegations of the prosecution were confirmed for the senior public prosecutor: At the end of January, the 39-year-old shot a young policewoman (24) and her colleague (29) during a night-time traffic check on a district road in the western Palatinate near” killed in the head. The act of violence caused nationwide horror.

Should poaching be covered up?

The act was committed “for a trivial reason”: “The killing of the police officers served to cover up commercial poaching,” said Orthen. In addition, the murder characteristic of greed was fulfilled: “Without the crime, he would no longer have been able to sell the game for a profit,” said the senior public prosecutor. 22 shot deer are said to have been lying in the van they were driving at the scene of the crime.

According to Orthen, the co-accused, like the main accused, was guilty of commercial poaching. A penalty should be refrained from, however, because the 33-year-old made a significant contribution to the clarification, said Orthen. “This is where the leniency program comes into play.” The previous allegation against the 33-year-old of attempting to evade punishment had been dropped.

Shot in self-defense?

“I am wrongly accused of murder,” said the main defendant in his so-called last word. “I’m not going to kill two people” to avoid a possible conviction for poaching. He repeated his statement that he had shot the police officer in self-defense. The police officer shot the accused 33-year-old, which he denied.

“We have two different versions here that could not be refuted,” said the second defense attorney for the main defendant, Leonhard Kaiser. From the defense’s point of view, it was “not murder, maximum bodily harm resulting in death”. The defense called for “a fair verdict” without formulating a specific demand. “We just still don’t know a lot of things.”

The main defendant said the trial produced “no objective evidence” for the prosecution to support the murder charge. He assumes that the chamber will not ignore the principle “in dubio pro reo” (in case of doubt for the accused) in its verdict. The men were arrested shortly after the crime in neighboring Saarland. According to psychiatric reports, both are fully culpable.

accusation of prejudice

Defense attorney Lars Nozar criticized the fact that his client had been prejudged early on – by the media and by the public prosecutor’s office. The statements of the co-defendant were taken as the basis for the whole process and the taking of evidence did not change “the direction”.

Counsel for the accessory prosecutor, representing the families of the killed police officers, also advocated life imprisonment for the main suspect and a determination of the particular gravity of his guilt. In their view, the murder characteristics of malice and base motives were also fulfilled in the act.

The lawyer for the family of the policeman who was killed, Guido Britz, emphasized in his closing speech that the crime had caused immeasurable suffering for the relatives. “It was a snap at officials like animals, he didn’t do it any differently than he did with the animals before,” Britz said. The main accused is considered to be an extremely good marksman who mostly shot wild animals in the head.

Britz said it was “painful for the family” that so far there has been a lack of “any explanation, apology or empathy” from the accused. In his last word, the 39-year-old addressed the families: “I sincerely apologize,” he said.

Should the court follow the request of the public prosecutor and impose life imprisonment for murder plus determine the particular severity of the guilt, a release of the 39-year-old after 15 years would be impossible, said the Trier professor of criminal law, Till Zimmermann. The average length of service in such cases is more than 20 years. The verdict is expected to fall on November 30th.


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