Baden-Württemberg: After murder more than 27 years ago: the court must judge again

A woman is killed with several stitches.

Baden-Württemberg: After murder more than 27 years ago: the court must judge again

A woman is killed with several stitches. The perpetrator, a 72-year-old man, was convicted of murder more than a quarter of a century later. There is no doubt about his guilt. But was it murder? The court will now decide that.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) - More than a quarter of a century ago, the act of violence against a woman in Sindelfingen caused a stir, for years the investigators searched unsuccessfully for a perpetrator and finally found one. Now, after a three-month trial, a court has to pass judgment on the perpetrator again.

Unlike previous trials, however, after the pleadings by the public prosecutor's office and the co-plaintiff, the defense will also formulate its interpretations behind closed doors this Thursday (09.00). The reason: A witness statement that has not been made public could play a role in the pleadings. However, a verdict will definitely be announced publicly - and possibly on the same day - said a spokesman for the district court.

Prosecutors and co-prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for murder. The co-plaintiff also wants to have determined the particular severity of the guilt. Only in exceptional cases could the perpetrator be freed after 15 years.

The 72-year-old is in the dock for the second time in the same case. The pensioner had already been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Stuttgart Regional Court in July 2021. In 1995 he attacked and stabbed a woman at an S-Bahn station, the judiciary is still certain. However, the man was able to convince the Federal Court of Justice with his revision, which is convinced of his guilt, but reversed the judgment and referred the case back to another chamber of the district court.

In the purely circumstantial process with a consistently silent defendant, the murder characteristic of insidiousness had not been sufficiently proven, the BGH had complained. And even after the second trial, which lasted several months, before another chamber of the district court, it should remain unclear what exactly happened before the then 35-year-old victim died. If the court judges the act to be manslaughter rather than murder, the penalty under German law would be statute-barred after 20 years. Even a convicted perpetrator can no longer be punished after more than 20 years, the 72-year-old would leave the courtroom as a free man.

At that time, he was only transferred after DNA traces under the victim's fingernails could be assigned to him. According to the earlier verdict, the man had attacked and killed the 35-year-old on her way home from work. A special commission set up after the crime had the man in its sights early on - but the investigations were initially unsuccessful. It was not until 2018 that the DNA hit confirmed the suspicion against the man who was born in northern Germany.

The first trial against the fallen ex-manager made all kinds of headlines at the time. A number of hearing dates, dozens of witnesses, as well as statements from people who now live abroad - and all of this in times of Corona. In addition, the file situation was catastrophic, pieces of evidence were missing, some witnesses had died, others had memory gaps - and that in a process that was completely based on circumstantial evidence, in which the accused was consistently silent and continued to do so in the new process.

He was no longer a blank slate with the police and judiciary: in 2007, the Würzburg district court had already convicted him of manslaughtering a hitchhiker from Obersontheim (Schwäbisch Hall district) - even then only on the second attempt after an acquittal in the first trial.