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US 'murder' gran 'had problems from WWII'
Photo: DPA

US 'murder' gran 'had problems from WWII'

Published: 31 Jul 2012 09:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Jul 2012 09:50 GMT+02:00

A German grandmother who was to be tried on Monday in Florida accused of drowning her grandson, was insane – at least partly due to an injury she suffered in World War II, her defence has argued, delaying the trial.

Marianne Bordt is accused of drowning her five-year-old American-born grandson Camden Hiers, in a bathtub while he was on holiday with her in Florida in 2010.

She was said to be distraught at the fact that his parents were divorced. Bordt then tried to kill herself but failed and was found by her husband.

The start of her trial was delayed when the prosecution asked for more time to prepare a rebuttal against the last-minute defence witness - a German-born psychoneurologist, local paper the Apalach Times reported last week.

Manfred Grieffenstein had carried out a series of tests on the 72-year-old and was expected to tell the Florida judge that she has mental problems which date back to an injury she suffered during World War II, the paper said.

He is expected to argue that Bordt suffered a head injury in a bombing raid by Russian forces on her hometown of Breslau on October 7, 1944. This, combined with symptoms of depression and paranoia contributed to the crime, he will argue, the paper said.

But the prosecution say they need time to find an expert in dementia and memory loss who could contradict Grieffenstein's argument, so the judge opted to postpone Monday's trial until both parties were ready.

The defence are pleading insanity and think she should be detained in a Florida mental hospital for the rest of her life. Prosecutors have called for the death penalty.

Judge Angela Dempsey has, according to the Apalach Times, encouraged the two sides to sit down and reach a deal outside of court. Continuing the trial would mean flying in German-speaking witnesses and end up very expensive, she said.

Bordt, from village of Nufringen, near Stuttgart, is being held at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. She speaks no English, and has had extensive counselling to help her cope with the stress of the trial.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:09 July 31, 2012 by wenddiver
Evil. Zap.
12:21 July 31, 2012 by MattyB
Pursuing the death penalty for a 72 year old woman?
14:46 July 31, 2012 by William Thirteen
that's the American way! (well to be fair, it's also the Chinese and Iranian way)
15:26 July 31, 2012 by heathen
@billy 13:

as opposed to the german way --- 2-3 years ... let off with time served pending trial...

good ol' american adage: don't do the crime if you can't do the time
15:53 July 31, 2012 by wenddiver
@Matty B- No she is not being tried for being for being 72 or a woman. Florida is pursuing the death penalty against her becaus she committed a really vile murder of a child. What do you propose that they only hold young males responsible for their crimes? Murder is a horrible crime and the citizens of Florida have enacted laws that they will hold themselves accountable with their lives if they commit it.
16:32 July 31, 2012 by ND1000
@billy13

America still has a long way to go before they reach the amount of horrors, murders, executions, etc. committed by good ol England, France, and Germany.
17:35 July 31, 2012 by Beachrider
@william

Nothing like some ameriphobe fascism in the morning, eh?
17:47 July 31, 2012 by friedenstempel
Breslau, that alone is telling.
18:16 July 31, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Chattahoochee, that alone is telling
13:26 August 1, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
@MattyB:

>Pursuing the death penalty for a 72 year old woman?

yeah... that's like throwing somebody out of a movie theater ten minutes before the end of the movie. Just wait a little while and the problem will solve itself.

And besides, I read somewhere that the average amount of time an inmate spends on death row before their sentence is administered is close to ten years. If this trial drags on some more, she could easily be 85 before she's due for execution. So what's really the point... if she is guilty, just lock her up and let nature take its course.
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