Teens jailed in Munich S-Bahn murder trial

A court on Monday handed lengthy jail sentences to two teens for the murder of businessman Dominik Brunner on a Munich commuter train platform almost one year ago.

Teens jailed in Munich S-Bahn murder trial
Leibinger (left) and Schiller (right). Photo: DPA

Nineteen-year-old Markus Schiller was sentenced to nine years and 10 months in prison for murder, while 18-year-old Sebastian Leibinger received seven years for dangerous bodily harm resulting in death.

The pair beat and kicked the 50-year-old at Munich’s Solln S-Bahn train platform on September 12, 2009 after he had tried to protect a group of younger children from their bullying.

Brunner had intervened while they were attempting to extort money out of the group of children on an S-Bahn train. Brunner offered to escort the children out of the Solln station but the teens, who had allegedly been drinking, 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.

Brunner died two hours after the altercation in a Munich hospital.

But contrary to first indications, Brunner did not succumb to injuries inflicted by the two young men. Instead experts determined that he suffered cardiac arrest due to a heart problem that had gone undiagnosed.

During the trial a witness also revealed that Brunner had thrown the first punch at the teens, apparently in an attempt to prevent being attacked.

But Markus Schiller still received the most severe sentence possible for a youth offender, because witnesses said he had kicked Brunner after he was already on the ground.

During the 12-day trial in the Munich youth court, which saw testimony from more than 50 witnesses, the defence had plead for a much more lenient sentence for the two teens, who were 17 and 18 at the time of the attack. The sentences were still short of what state prosecutors wanted, though.

Brunner’s death, following a display of what Germans call Zivilcourage, or “civil courage,” shocked the nation, and on Monday the German Police Union (DPoIG) praised the verdict as a “strong vote” for behaviour such as his.

“The verdict is hard and therefore good,” DPoIG head Rainer Wendt said in a statement. “We are happy that the court remained strict on the actual crime and the accompanying criminal energy of the perpetrators and was uninfluenced by minor side issues.”

Brunner’s heart defect did not change the value of his actions, the organisation said, adding that citizens should be expected to at least inform police when they witness criminal behaviour.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.