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CRIME

Michelle’s killer gets nine-and-a-half years

The murderer of eight-year-old Michelle from Leipzig has been sentenced to nine-and-a-half years imprisonment in a youth detention facility.

Michelle's killer gets nine-and-a-half years
Photo: DPA

A court of Leipzig on Friday found Daniel V., 19, guilty of raping and murdering the girl, but handed down a comparatively light sentence because of the man’s serious developmental disability. A healthy adult would have received a life sentence.

In August 2008, Daniel V. lured Michelle back to his apartment, where he gagged her and force-fed her alcohol before raping and suffocating her, in a crime that shocked Germany.

Michelle was on her way home from playing with friends when she went missing, and was found dead three days later in a duck pond by a local resident out for a walk.

“The life of Michelle was to him immaterial,” said Judge Norbert Göbel.

Defence attorney Malte Heise had called for and eight-and-a-half years in a juvenile facility and the chance for out-patient psychiatric treatment.

State Prosecutor Klaus-Dieter Müller and Michelle’s parents had demanded the maximum penalty of 10 years.

Daniel V. had gone about the crime in a brutal way, “such as I have never seen in my long career as state prosecutor,” said Müller.

The stocky young man had knocked out several of her teeth and broken part of her jaw.

Seven months after the murder, the young man turned himself into police before he was scheduled to be DNA-tested under a wide net the police task force had cast to find the perpetrator.

Daniel V. later apologised to Michelle’s parents.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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