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CRIME

Witness says S-Bahn murder victim hit first

A witness at the trial of the two youths who beat to death Dominik Brunner at a Munich S-Bahn station said on Thursday the victim threw the first punch, potentially making it difficult for prosecutors to pursue a murder conviction.

Witness says S-Bahn murder victim hit first
Photo: DPA

A 16-year-old boy that was part of a group of children Brunner had tried to protect from bullying by defendants Sebastian Leibinger and Markus Schiller testified that the 50-year-old businessman had squared up to them and said: “This is the only thing you want.”

He then allegedly hit one of the defendants in the face.

“Mr. Brunner took a few steps towards them and hit one of them in the face,” said the boy under tears. “He then totally flipped out. His stance, his moves, it was like a boxer.”

Schiller, now 19, and Leibinger, now 18, allegedly beat Brunner to death in September last year after he intervened while they were attempting to extort money out of the children on an S-Bahn commuter train.

Brunner offered to escort the children out of Solln station but the accused pair followed him off the train. After the altercation began, the defendants continued to punch and kick Brunner even after he had struck his head on a metal handrail and fallen to the ground.

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. However, the boy’s testimony on Thursday corroborates the defendants’ story and could make a murder conviction more difficult for prosecutors.

A 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.

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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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