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Winnenden father found guilty of manslaughter
Photo: DPA

Winnenden father found guilty of manslaughter

Published: 10 Feb 2011 11:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2011 11:40 GMT+01:00

Nearly two years after a deadly school rampage in the southern German town of Winnenden, the father of the shooter was given a suspended sentence of one year and nine months because he failed to keep the gun used in the killings locked away.

The 52-year-old Jörg Kretschmer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, bodily harm caused by negligence, and the negligent abandonment of a weapon.

The prosecution told the Stuttgart court that Kretschmer had failed to prevent his son Tim gaining access to the licensed weapon and its ammunition. The 17-year-old took the gun from his parents’ bedroom in March 2009 and killed 15 people at his former school, before committing suicide.

While some of the 43 joint plaintiffs called for a prison sentence of up to three years, state prosecutors demanded a two-year suspended sentence for the combined 28 counts of involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm caused by negligence, as well as violation of laws about storing guns.

The defence had called for their client to be acquitted on the grounds that he had already been punished enough by the situation. Kretschmer's lawyer said afterwards he would appeal the decision, on the grounds that the Stuttgart court had previously reached another verdict on negligence with weapons.

Speaking before the court's verdict, Hardy Schober, spokesman for the anti-gun lobby group Amoklauf Winnenden, said, "Even if it's just for a quarter of a year, he must go to jail." Schober lost his daughter in the massacre.

Afterwards, some of the relatives expressed disappointment with the severity of the sentence, though Schober said it was what he had expected. The mother of one of the teenagers killed said she could accept the verdict.

"The extent of the sentence is secondary," said Jens Rabe, a lawyer for the joint plaintiffs. He said it was more important that the court send out a clear signal by sentencing Tim's father for manslaughter, and not just for contravening gun laws.

Appearing in court last week, Kretschmer apologized and expressed his sympathy to the relatives of those killed. “I feel responsible for my son and for the mistakes I made,” he said.

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:12 February 10, 2011 by Landmine
Well, the suspended sentence certainly passed on a strong message that you can leave your gun out
16:36 February 10, 2011 by freechoice
you think by locking your guns, problem will be solved? why not address the real problems of teenagers?
20:59 February 10, 2011 by toemag
Guns don't kill people, female lawyers do... Strange how that one has been put to sleep.
22:36 February 10, 2011 by maxbrando
Rhis is, of course, German justice.
23:15 February 10, 2011 by Landmine
I think the mans kid addressed his issue of teenagers.
14:30 February 13, 2011 by Johnny Cash
Tried a search for how many people killed by guns in Germany every year but no clear result. There was a figure of 211 in the late 1990's. With a population of 80 million the statistics are pretty low you will be killed by a gun in this country and as the murders in general per capita are 49th on a world scale, USA 25 places above, there is probably no need to panic or get the government involved. Obviously the laws at the moment are adequate. The judges in this country just as surely are not. But historically that has always been so.
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