Mask dispute ends fatally: petrol station shooter for defenders not a murderer

In a dispute about wearing a corona mask, a customer sees red and shoots an employee.

Mask dispute ends fatally: petrol station shooter for defenders not a murderer

In a dispute about wearing a corona mask, a customer sees red and shoots an employee. For the prosecutor murder, for the defense not. The targeted approach and the perpetrator's alcohol content in particular would not justify such a verdict.

In the trial of the fatal shot at a gas station employee in the dispute over the corona mask requirement, the defense rejected the charge of murder. Unlike the public prosecutor's office, defense attorney Alexander Klein did not see the murder criteria as insidious and base motives. Before the district court of Bad Kreuznach, he pleaded for manslaughter with significantly reduced criminal responsibility of the accused, who had been under the influence of alcohol. Klein did not name a penalty.

"The question of the characteristics of the murder is what drove us in the process. The perpetrator was clear from the start," said the defense attorney. From his point of view, the fact that the victim was "not chosen arbitrarily" speaks against the allegation of base motives, the defender said, referring to the dispute about wearing the corona mask that preceded the shooting. Before the shot, which was fired on September 18, 2021 at a gas station in Idar-Oberstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, there was an "interaction between the victim and the perpetrator". There is also no "insidious behavior" on the part of the accused.

The second defender, Axel Küster, gave a similar assessment of the act. The accused, who up to the point of the crime had led an impeccable life with no previous convictions, was no longer in control of his senses because of the two parts per thousand alcohol in his blood. In Küster's view, the purpose of the targeted shot at the cashier's head was not that the accused wanted to catch his victim "suspecting and defenseless". "He had tunnel vision," said Küster.

Like Klein, he denied that the guilt was particularly serious. This assessment by the public prosecutor's office cannot be justified from a technical point of view and is a sign of helplessness. With this application, which she made in her pleading last Monday, chief public prosecutor Nicole Frohn gave in to public pressure and drew the "sharpest sword of the judiciary" against the accused, who had already been convicted in many media outlets. Should the court follow the request of the public prosecutor and impose a life sentence for murder and also determine the particular gravity of the guilt, a release of the now 50-year-old after 15 years would be legally possible, but in practice almost impossible. The verdict is to be announced next Tuesday (9:00 a.m.).

Finally, the court gave the 50-year-old German the opportunity to speak again before the verdict. He is joining his defense attorneys but cannot say much about the trial because he has never seen a court hearing, the defendant said. He felt the procedure was partly "cold", something went down in the process, how sorry he was for the act. "I can't turn back time. I'm terribly sorry," he said, his voice cracking.

Right at the beginning of the process, the 50-year-old admitted the fatal shot at the 20-year-old cashier and said he could not explain the crime to this day.

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