NewsThe start of the triple murder trial

The start of the triple murder trial

It was a horrific picture that was presented to the investigators in January 2020: parents and son shot dead in their house in Starnberg. The court must now answer the question: What happened then?

Starnberg / Munich – “An insane misfortune separated us in our earthly life” is written above an obituary notice for the couple who have given up friends.

The relatives write about the “indescribable” and the “incomprehensible” in another advertisement. You all probably still ask yourself the question: What happened in Starnberg in January 2020?

Did a young man brutally shoot his friend and his parents? And what role does his friend, who was waiting in front of the family house in Starnberg, play?

“Investigation Group January 11” is the name of the criminal police unit that dealt with the case. A police patrol discovered the bodies of the 60-year-old woman, her 64-year-old husband and their son in their house. Only the family dog, which was also shot, survived seriously injured.

At first, the case seemed clear to the investigators: They assumed that the son, a gun freak, first shot his parents and then himself. A few weeks later the spectacular turnaround: Further investigation results suggested a different scenario. The Munich II public prosecutor’s office now assumes that the son was not a perpetrator, but a victim himself – the victim of his close friend, who is said to have him and his parents on his conscience.

The 21-year-old German is charged with three murders, his friend and roommate, a 19-year-old Slovak, as an accomplice in a murder case. The prosecutor assumes that the two were after the son’s illegal weapons and therefore made the decision to wipe out the family. The co-defendant is said to have driven his friend to the family home and waited there during the crime. Investigators later found illegal weapons in the 21-year-old, which he is said to have stolen from the family home.

The older of the two defendants is said to have confessed to the police – but he does not want to say anything more about the horrific allegations before the Munich II district court at the start of the trial on Monday. The co-defendant is also silent, at least initially.

However, the unemployed main defendant made detailed statements – albeit not free of drastic contradictions – about his personal circumstances. He speaks of heavy alcohol and drug use, problems with his mother and bullying at school. “Once they tied me to a climbing frame with cable ties and pelted me with stones.” He is quite childish and still likes to watch cartoons today.

He does not seem to have any doubts that he will be convicted. Later, “as soon as I get into prison,” he wants to do a craft training, he says about his plans for the future. And then he wants to build a house – “when I get out”. He doesn’t want to say how he got the money for the drugs. And he also doesn’t answer many other questions – such as those about his friends or his sexual orientation.

The defense of the 19-year-old co-defendant expresses massive doubts about the version on which the prosecution is based on their indictment and attacks the prosecution in three opening statements based on the US model.

The prosecution follows “a simple logic” in their indictment, says lawyer Alexander Betz. “There are four people in a house, one comes out alive, and so the fourth is the murderer.”

But this is only one of the many conceivable variants. There are several hypotheses of what could have happened on the night of January 10th to 11th, 2020, which are just as plausible, if not more plausible. The prosecution had “filled their gaps in knowledge with a lot of imagination instead of investigative work,” criticized lawyer Alexander Stevens.

There are seven hypotheses that the defense puts forward: For example, they still consider the originally assumed variant of the son as the murderer of his parents to be possible. Traces of smoke had been found on his hands and the forensic medical report did not rule out the possibility that the young man could actually have shot himself.

Another possibility is that the public prosecutor’s office is on the wrong track and that the real perpetrator is still alive and free. The lawyers speculate that the son of the family could have tried to sell weapons via the Darknet and thus got to the wrong people. Or maybe the attack was also aimed at the mother, who worked at the family court and there could possibly have turned one or the other family against her.

In any case, the three defense lawyers emphasize that their client’s complicity cannot be proven. Because even if everything went as stated in the indictment, the mere chauffeur does not prove complicity. The presiding judge Regina Holstein speaks of a “fog” that the main hearing will have to clear.

The youth chamber has set 54 trial days for this. The verdict could then fall exactly two years after the fact: on January 11, 2022. dpa

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