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Family man admits five murders in stunning 'cold case' revelation

The Local · 17 Jun 2011, 15:51

Published: 17 Jun 2011 15:51 GMT+02:00

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The now 64-year-old man was identified by a saliva sample he had given detectives during their 1984 investigation of the murder of Gabriele Stender.

More than 150 men in the Segeberg area near Kiel, volunteered last year to give samples to help the hunt for her killer as police wanted to use modern DNA identification techniques to make a last attempt to find the man responsible.

Little did the detectives realise when they arrested the family man who had lived a quiet life for decades that they were dealing with a serial killer.

He admitted killing 18-year-old Gabriele Stender, saying he had picked her up as she hitch-hiked to a disco, then raped and strangled her with her own scarf.

Then he told detectives he had also killed four other young women in northern Germany between 1969 and 1972. They said on Friday they had no doubt he was telling the truth about the two 16-year-olds and the two 22-year-olds he said he had also killed.

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They said his attacks always followed the same pattern - he would watch a young woman from his car, follow and then suddenly attack her, before killing her. Further details will not be released to protect the investigation.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:26 June 17, 2011 by german-guardian
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:22 June 17, 2011 by auslanderus
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:40 June 17, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:55 June 18, 2011 by auniquecorn
Since the murders took place more than 20 years ago I´m sure the german court system will give him a harsh lecture, and threaten him with jail if he murders again.
11:44 June 18, 2011 by Talonx
@ German-Guardian, Auslanderus, and Jack Kerouac

You're just as bad of people as this man if you truly believe and want what you are saying.
14:19 June 18, 2011 by nashville
@ Talonx, what would you suggest? A stern finger wagging? Probation? Or, let me guess, a program of reforming his character and buidling his self esteem so he can love himself and therefore not hurt others. What a joke. I am no fan of the death penalty, but there has to be some kind of deterrant to this sort of behavior. I'd like to see this creep sit in jail, eating bread and water, with no outside contact for the rest of his life. Want to reform him? Give him a Bible to read and let him reform himself. He had his chance at life, what about those women he killed, where is their chance?
16:00 June 18, 2011 by bartschaff
Many readers here are obviously too primitive to see the difference between justice and revenge.

It's also interesting to note how often people who, from their religious comments would be expect to "love thy neighbor" are the ones favoring torture and killing.
20:03 June 18, 2011 by Gretl
@bartschaff - you have obviously forgotten the Old Testement, with its eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth.

What do you see as justice? Revenge would be killing his family or someone he cares about. Justice? Simply removing him from society in order to protect society. If we are going to protect society for the span of his life, let's reduce the burden to society and shorten his lifespan. There's over 6 billion people on the planet, I don't think we need to overthink the morality of protecting society from a serial killer by capital punishment. In fact, I'd be willing to use it for more crimes, like rape and pedophilia.
21:55 June 18, 2011 by bartschaff
The Old Testament... nice, one can spend hours reading about all the absurds in it. Do you try to follow what the Bible says? Or just, like most people, pick only the parts the are convenient to you? Do you avoid women during their periods (Leviticus 15:19-20)? Will you stone your kids to death next time they disobey you (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)?

Maybe you know it's outdated, or like to reinterpret it all as metaphors -- good, then do the same with the eye-tooth thing.

Anyway, that's beyond the point. What matters is that society fortunately has evolved beyond "eye for an eye", at least in many places, but many people still didn't really get it.

As for the argument of killing him for cutting costs, not only isn't it very humane to kill s.o. to save some money, but it's also not true that it's cheaper to have a murderous justice system: just google for 'death penalty cost' and you'll find plenty of info on how much more expensive it is to have the death penalty.
04:02 June 19, 2011 by Gretl
Not a Christian, just trying to point out it is one of the more gruesome mythologies out there, so you shouldn't be surprised by the results.

You're right, we need to streamline the appeals process. To me, euthanasia is more humane than caging someone up for the rest of their lives. That is truely punishment.
06:06 June 19, 2011 by Meringer
Putting a killer in prison does not prevent him from killing. It just changes his targets of opportunity to other inmates, guards, and other prison employees he may have contact with. Recently, inn the U.S,, a female prison guard working in the chapel was strangled to death by an inmate that had been a model prisoner for years and was a chapel volunteer. And many muderers eventually get out of prison one day, even if they were originaly sentenced to life with out parole, then they kill again. The only way to prevent a killer from killing is to kill him. You would not try to reform a wolf you catch killing your sheep. If capitol punishment is truly more expensive than life in prison, then it is time to simplify the death penalty process.
07:31 June 19, 2011 by ChrisRea

Well said, bravo! It is comforting to read an informed opinion once in a while.
12:18 June 19, 2011 by bartschaff
@ Gretl Yeah, quite true about Christianism, and the same applies to the two other big monotheistic religions.

@ Meringer Cases like the one you mention do happen, but not the norm at all.

@ both of you: simplifying or streamlining death penalty means things like giving less chances for appealing, so that the killing happens sooner. That would make it much cheaper, true, but would also cause the deaths of an even bigger number of innocent people. Recently DNA analyses applied to old cases where the convict was executed, showed a good number of them were innocent. Just in Texas, since the seventies, about 1000 people were executed, while 130 were released from the death row with evidence of innocence. Streamlining, making the time spent in the death row (in what I agree with Gretl, is inhumanely long) would clearly mean killing even more innocent people.

And, yes, you can say that "but in *this* case we're sure...", only that everyone is always sure when condemning s.o. the death.

You could also say that a few innocent lives is the price to pay for deterring many more terrible crimes: but it's just not true. By analysing the evolution of crime statistics in places where death penalty was introduced/eliminated or by comparing different places (countries, states) with/without it, it's clear that death penalty *is not* an effective deterrent to crime. One place to check about it:


Death penalty is just an expensive way of turning the state a murderer, with no benefit to society.
19:22 June 19, 2011 by dbert4
@bartschaff - I tend to agree with you but, their use as organ donors should be explored.
20:29 June 19, 2011 by bartschaff
@ dbert4 Sorry, but it's a bad idea. Some people would agree with you (the Chinese government, for one), but it's a bad idea.

It's obviously complicated from a moral standpoint, there's plenty written about the idea, e.g., http://bioethics.iu.edu/reference-center/deathrow/ But the most important point about it is that it's just plain useless.

See, every year some 50-100 people are killed by government in US. That is the number of people receiving transplants per *day* in the country. Using these inmates as organ donors wouldn't make any real difference.

And that not counting that, even if the killing procedures would be modified for allowing donations (not a trivial task, specially as doctors traditionally refuse to work on executions), not every prisoner is healthy enough for it and compatible with someone is need of a transplant.

But, again, the whole point is that, with or without donation, the death penalty is just wrong. It doesn't make any good, just harms the society.
01:40 June 20, 2011 by german-guardian
@ bartschaff

Who cares about the Chinese government. We are talking about Germany here.

Listen, justice must be served. This man has killed 5 innocent women, and he should be put to death in a manner that he deserves. But a painful death should be chosen for this man who has taken the life of 5 people. 5 innocent people who could had bright future. This man is lower than an animal, and if you go 70 years back, I am sure a very strict punishment would have been put on this criminal
05:12 June 20, 2011 by bartschaff

No one cares for the Chinese government, as long you don't keep calling for Chinese-style justice.

You don't even care to try to address the arguments against the death penalty, right? Because you can't, I guess. But at least answer: what good does it do to torture and kill that man? None. The women will remain dead and their families missing them.'Justice' isn't a god to which human sacrifices must be made.

By the way, about 70 years ago Germany wasn't a very nice place, why do you mention this period?
13:11 June 20, 2011 by William Thirteen

thanks for doing the heavy lifting here. However, I suspect that those advocating the death penalty are impervious to reason and are seeking only to justify their previously held positions.
07:31 June 21, 2011 by german-guardian
@ bartschaff

If an individual like this man, kills and takes an innocent life, then the justice system should take his life. This is the law of God. This is the law of nature.

you argue that killing this individual will not bring back the people he has killed, but I say to you, that this man chose to do his actions and take the innocent life of 5 women, and now the government must punsh him according to the actions that he has chosen.

You say no to death penalty, but not only death penalty is the only way for punishing these criminals, but this man has done such a horrifying crime by killing 5 women, that he deserves a very painful death designed by the justice system of the government
12:58 June 21, 2011 by MiriamSPia
I am very pleased to learn that he has confessed and that he is going to be held responsible. While it does not account for and cannot make up for the loss of innocent lives - nothing can take away what he's done, I am extremely glad to hear he is actually finally "being busted" for what he did. It is also wonderful if he has been well behaved for the past 40 years - although probably constantly looking over his shoulder so to speak, because he's a guilty murderer.

Perhaps he can serve the rest of his time in prison. Perhaps the spirits of his victims deserve vindication and perhaps they were so kind and forgiving that the perpetrator can lose only the last 30 years of his life in prison, rather than the middle years of his life or all of that for his crimes.

I am a little offended by some of the other people's written reactions.
13:17 June 26, 2011 by bartschaff
@ ChrisRea and William Thirteen, thx for the support.

@german-guardian, now I see that many fail to address arguments against death penalty not only because they are not willing/able to sustain a rational discussion on the subject, but also because they, like you, simply don't care.

It's funny how, while desiring to seem so worried with the innocent murder victims, you guys don't give a thought to the innocent people in the death row.

But the worst in not the incoherence, the worst is that you simply don't care at all about justice or about what is best for society. You only care about your own narrow fixed sense of justice being satisfied, no matter what.
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