Trial over Aachen jailbreak begins

Trial over Aachen jailbreak begins
Photo: DPA
Court began proceedings started on Tuesday against two inmates who staged a dramatic jailbreak from a maximum-security prison in the Aachen area last year, keeping Germany on edge for five days as fugitives.

Convicted murderer Peter Paul Michalski and co-conspirator Michael Heckhoff broke out of the facility in November 2009. They hijacked two taxis, a 19-year-old student in her car, and a married couple in their escape efforts. None of their victims were injured, despite the two being described as brutally dangerous and erratic criminals.

Both men had been serving life sentences without chance of parole at the Aachen prison. Heckhoff, who was captured first in Mülheim an der Ruhr, had been convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder. Michalski, was later captured after an intense nationwide manhunt when police rammed him from a bicycle near Düsseldorf. He was serving out his sentence for the 1993 murder of a fellow robbery accomplice.

The two are accused of kidnapping, blackmail, and hostage-taking.

The court is expected to spend five days questioning the two taxi drivers who were forced to aid in the fugitives’ getaway.

A prison guard accused of aiding the prisoners will also be in court. The guard is thought to have helped the men get through locked areas and providing them with loaded prison service weapons as well as ammunition, according to statement by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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