• Germany's news in English

Munich S-Bahn murder trial starts

DDP/The Local · 13 Jul 2010, 17:18

Published: 13 Jul 2010 11:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2010 17:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In a crime that shocked the nation last September, Sebastian Leibinger, 18, and Markus Schiller, 19, allegedly beat and kicked Brunner to death after the 50-year-old businessman intervened to protect a group of children.

But on Tuesday, Schiller claimed Brunner had thrown the first punch and only then did the teenager lose control and start beating the man.

Schiller said he knew that the way he had reacted was wrong and that he was “forever sorry” for the manager’s death.

Schiller claimed he had experienced a “blackout” after Brunner threw the first punch, at which point Schiller became enraged and let fly his attack. He admitted punching Brunner and could not rule out having kicked the man, but insisted he could not recall further details.

“I must have had a full blackout,” he told the court.

In a statement read by his lawyers, Schiller also said he could not recall the particulars of his interview by police.

"I wish I could help explain my horrible actions," he said, explaining he could not remember due to the considerable amount alcohol he had consumed.

Schiller told the court he drank five beers and half a bottle of vodka before noon on the day of the crime.

Judge Reinhold Baier has set nine hearing days for the trial. Some 53 witnesses and four experts are expected to give evidence. Brunner’s father is also involved as a joint-plaintiff – a common arrangement in German criminal courts that aims to ensure families of victims are taken into account.

If convicted of murder, Schiller faces life imprisonment. Because he was a minor at the time, Leibinger faces a maximum of 10 years in jail.

The two teenagers are accused of beating and kicking Brunner to death on September 12 last year on the Solln S-Bahn station in Munich. The 50-year-old businessman had intervened on a train to protect a group of children whom the young men were trying to bully out of €15.

But Leibinger told the court on Tuesday they had merely wanted to frighten the children for allegedly mocking him and his companion.

Brunner, stepped off the train with the children at Solln station to keep guard over them. At that point, the violence escalated, though the exact reasons remain unclear – as does the question of who threw the first punch.

What is alleged, however, is that Schiller and Leibinger continued to hit and kick Brunner even as he lay on the ground. He died shortly afterwards from his severe injuries at the Großhadern hospital.

Story continues below…

The third youth, Christoph T., who did not take part in the beating but egged his friends on, was sentenced in April to 19 months' jail.

Ten months after Brunner was killed, the trial got underway but was almost immediately halted when the defence questioned the make-up of the Munich court.

Leibinger, 18, entered the court with downcast eyes, nervously rubbing his hands together, according to the website of daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. He wore a white, short-sleeved shirt, trendy jeans and new black sneakers. On his right wrist he wore a coloured band.

Schiller wore a shirt too big for him, giving him a scrawny appearance, the paper reported. He also looked at the floor, with a pallid face, sitting motionless.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:34 July 13, 2010 by AirForceGuy
Too bad Germany doesn't have the death penalty for these hoods. I guess 40 years will have to do.
14:00 July 13, 2010 by twisted
What is life imprisonment in Germany? To me that means he dies in prison but we know that will not be the case. He will probably be on the street in 15 years...to bad. I hope he gets hit by a truck.
14:50 July 13, 2010 by Bushdiver
I doubt that they will serve more than 4 to 5 years. Germany isn't normally tough on murderers. They should be hung. No excuse for what they did. The one blacked out. I doubt it but maybe he'll see the light behind bars.
15:16 July 13, 2010 by dcgi
"I must have had a full blackout" .. sounds much like a lawyer-speak for "It's possible you did have a blackout".

You can't kill them, but you can make sure they do at least the full 15 years.
20:55 July 13, 2010 by ergoiam
I'm sorry but i must have blacked out during your bulls**t excuse why you beat and kicked a man who was standing up for those who couldn't. I say let some of us have a few beers and a half bottle of liquor and proceed to do the same thing to your loved one, use the same excuse, and let's see how you like it! He is nothing but a f**king gutter punk! Just makes me feel a bit ill. Senseless! Is it just me or shouldn't the other guy be tried as an adult here as well? If he didn't know that this was wrong then lock him and his parents up, because they have all failed a basic lifeskills test. Your old enough to consume liquor then your man enough to handle the consequences for your actions.
22:06 July 13, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
Decisions require responsibility. They made bad choices and need to suffer the consequences. 25 years or so would send a strong message to other punks that with adulthood and drinking come accountability...
22:36 July 13, 2010 by ColoSlim
Kind of makes you wonder, would I jump into something like that to protect others knowing that as I get beat to death nobody will help me or at least pull me to safety or at least call 112? Everyone on that train that day experienced a social phenomenon that shows we have little empathy for anyone but our own. It is a sad state we live in and I hope others will have the guts to help others out when needed.
01:09 July 14, 2010 by dcgi
Reminded me of this joke..

Q: What do you call a chav in a suit?

A: The accused.
07:13 July 14, 2010 by biker hotel harz
Let them rot in hell
07:30 July 14, 2010 by vonSchwerin
These two are lucky that they didn't commit their crime in the USA. They'd surely be executed.

But the German judicial system is far too lenient on manslaughter and murder. A life sentence very rarely means a life in prison. Even in the American system, parole is only granted after 30 or 33 years.

It's even more outrageous that a 17-year old was "adult" enough to kill a man who wanted to help children, but he gets to be tried as a juvenile.
23:47 July 14, 2010 by Gastredner
@ColoSlim: Police and medics who were on their way while the assault was in progress, since at least half a dozen witnesses had phoned them. However, the assault was over in only 66 seconds, so not even a stellar response time was good enough to save the victim.
02:09 July 15, 2010 by hanskarl
@vonSchwerin "These two are lucky that they didn't commit their crime in the USA. They'd surely be executed."

Good points except for the first one. To be handed the death penalty in the US it depends on the state where the crime was committed. Not all states carry the death penalty. If they do there is then the arduous and costly (states court costs come out of the general tax fund) process of multiple appeals that take decades.

Most US states have similar conviction methodologies where a certain number of years are served and then the criminal faces a parole board to see if they have been rehabilitated (in a penitentiary?) and then release might be possible for good behavior. There are those states that might give them life without parole dependent on the viciousness of the crime.
09:44 July 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
In the US (in states where capital punishment is in effect) it also depends upon how the crime is charged. Capital punishment is only available on a charge of first degree murder, which requires premeditation. The facts of this case as I understand them to do not support such a charge. In the US it would be charged as second degree murder or manslaughter, which are not capital offenses but which can carry lengthy prison sentences upon conviction. In any case, I hope the bastards go to prison for a very long time.
Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd