The killing spree in Trier triggered nationwide horror. There are five dead and many injured. Now the trial of the suspected gunman is coming to an end.
Trier – In the trial surrounding the fatal rampage in Trier, the defense on Thursday demanded that the accused be placed in a closed psychiatric ward. According to presiding judge Petra Schmitz, the verdict in the proceedings before the Trier Regional Court will be announced on August 16 at 1 p.m. – almost a year after the trial began. The act sparked nationwide outrage.
In their pleading, which lasted only 20 minutes, the public defenders Martha Schwiering and Frank Kay Peter referred to the opinion of a psychiatric expert, according to which the accused suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is less criminally responsible. Therefore, they are not demanding life imprisonment and no particular severity of guilt for the alleged gunman, as the two lawyers explain. The accused, who is sitting behind mobile armored glass walls, looks into the distance, unmoved.
Five passers-by were killed in the rampage on December 1, 2020, including a baby. There have also been numerous injuries and traumatized people. The accused has been on trial as a suspected perpetrator since August 19, 2021. Prosecutors have charged him with five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder. The German is said to have raced through the Trier pedestrian zone in his SUV in order to kill or injure as many people as possible.
“Hostile Attitude” Slowly Developed
Defense attorney Peter says, referring to the report, that the 52-year-old changed at the end of the 1990s: He broke up with his girlfriend, lost his job, broke off contact with his sister and reduced the number of his social contacts. His mental illness may have played a role here. She had encouraged a “hostile attitude towards society” in the man over the years. The accused even rejected his defense attorneys. According to his own words, he has no memory of the period of the crimes he is accused of. At the start of the trial, prosecutors described the 52-year-old as single, unemployed, without a fixed address, frustrated and with a developing “general hatred of society”.
His two defense attorneys did not provide any information on Thursday about how long they think the 52-year-old should be in a closed psychiatric ward. There, patients are usually regularly assessed with regard to their development.
The defenders express their deepest condolences to the injured and survivors of the victims of the rampage. Some relatives sit in the courtroom as joint plaintiffs. Shaking his head, the accused in a short-sleeved shirt and a white corona mask waived his right to have the last word before the verdict. He has also remained silent throughout the nearly year-long trial.
The public prosecutor’s office in Trier has demanded life imprisonment for the 52-year-old and the determination of the particular gravity of the guilt. Because of the mental illness of the man, the prosecution also demanded his accommodation in a psychiatric hospital. Victim lawyers, representing the co-plaintiffs, also pleaded for life imprisonment. dpa