„I cannot reword“

Der Täter am Tag der Urteilsverkündung: Ein erstes Gutachten hatte ihn als nicht schuldfähig bezeichnet

On the day of the verdict, the perpetrator was deemed not criminally responsible according to an initial assessment.

Foto: Jacob Schröter / dpa

A 36-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for setting fire to a multi-family house in Apolda, Thuringia, with gasoline cans during the night. He was convicted by the Erfurt Regional Court of murder in four cases and attempted murder in 30 cases. The court also determined that the severity of his guilt was particularly high. As a result, early release from prison after 15 years is almost impossible. „It is a terrible event for which we are sitting in court,“ said the presiding judge during the sentencing on Tuesday.

The court found it proven that the defendant set fire to a residential building in Apolda one night in August last year, knowing that many people, including children, lived there. Four people died, and many were injured. The defendant admitted to the act but denied intending to kill anyone.

The court saw it differently in its reasoning: The man had set the fire treacherously at a time when people were asleep and used gasoline canisters as dangerous means. Furthermore, he acted out of low motives because he wanted to seek revenge on a few residents of the house with whom he had argued over 250 euros. He had planned, announced, and acted deliberately.

Eine erste Gutachterin hielt den Mann für nicht schuldfähig

The court relied on the findings of a second expert report, which concluded that the man was mentally responsible at the time of the crime. A different expert report presented at the beginning of the trial stated that the man would not have been mentally responsible because he was suffering from a psychosis at the time of the crime. As a result, the man was placed in a psychiatric clinic. Now he will be held in custody until the verdict becomes legally binding.

The prosecution had previously demanded a life sentence but did not see the presence of exceptional severity of guilt in the overall assessment. On Tuesday, the defendant’s lawyer argued before the district court for his client’s acquittal and placement in a psychiatric facility.