• Germany's news in English

Bodenfelde child-killer gets life sentence

The Local · 27 Jun 2011, 10:23

Published: 27 Jun 2011 10:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A court in Göttingen delivered the sentence Monday morning. The sentence actually goes beyond that which prosecutors and the families had asked for.

Judge Ralf Günther also committed killer Jan O. to psychiatric treatment and ordered that he be subject to preventative detention. Although an inmate serving a life sentence may eventually be eligible for parole, Jan O. would be detained longer if deemed a threat by experts, meaning he is unlikely ever to be released.

He is to be sent to a psychiatric facility to serve his sentence.

In a case that shocked the country, Jan O. killed Nina, 14, and Tobias, 13, in November last year and left their bodies in a wooded area just outside the town of Bodenfelde. In his detailed confession, Jan O. admitted to carrying out cannibalistic and vampiristic acts on the children both before and after they were dead.

Günther described the crimes as “excessively violent” and “a just about unimaginable dimension of injustice.”

In reaching the sentence, the court took into account Jan O.’s written and verbal confessions and his freely given account of the crimes’ details.

But the court went beyond the sentence demanded by the state prosecution and the lawyers for the children’s parents, both of whom had asked for a 15-year sentence along with psychiatric treatment and subsequent preventive detention. They accepted that Jan O. had diminished responsibility.

Jan O.’s defence had also agreed to a 15-year sentence though without preventative detention, arguing that the placement in psychiatric treatment would ensure he would not be released if he were still considered dangerous.

Story continues below…

During the trial, he apologised to the children’s families and expressed remorse, saying, “I don’t know what came over me.”

DAPD/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:57 June 27, 2011 by ovalle3.14
I oppose the death penalty as much as I oppose 15 years for stuff like this.
14:34 June 27, 2011 by ame64
@ovalle3: How can you eb against this. The "person" is a danger to society and should be put away for what he did. I can only hope the EU court doesnt rule against detaining him in 15 years time.

15 years is NOT enough, it should be much more. Go the the families that lost their children to this monster and tell them you are opposed to his sentance.
14:41 June 27, 2011 by rutledm
@ame64....I think you misunderstood @ovalle3.....He opposes the death penalty but he also thinks 15 years is nowhere near enough for this crime. He's slamming Germany's slackness on serious crime. In other words, "I oppose (ONLY) 15 years for stuff like this." Is what he is actually saying. He thinks this guy should be sent away forever in other words.
15:24 June 27, 2011 by Cazkey
This person deserves the death penalty. He committed the ultimate sin. There is no reform for people like this. We need to stop being politically correct (thinking about the criminals rights) and protect our children from evil. This person is evil.
15:35 June 27, 2011 by ame64
@rutledm: OK, thanks for the explanation. I hope I did misunderstand what was written. If I did then my apologies!
15:40 June 27, 2011 by trash head
> This person deserves the death penalty. He committed the ultimate sin.

We dont measure in sins here in germany. We have a law instead of a farytale book.

> There is no reform for people like this.

'reform' ?

> We need to stop being politically correct (thinking about the criminals rights)

The crime stats in germany shows that we do it correctly here compared to other 'holy' Nations ;-)

> and protect our children from evil. This person is evil.

Before you can protect children, you have to make some ...
16:16 June 27, 2011 by Louis Prince
You really are a trash head.

If you don't respect life, the Law can't respect yours. Its(Death penalty) about removing a person from society forever, rather than exposing other criminals in Jail to him. Protecting everyone, even other law offenders!
16:37 June 27, 2011 by trash head
> Its(Death penalty) about removing a person from society forever,

You can name it as it is. Its murdering a person.

Were out of the middle age in germany.
16:55 June 27, 2011 by DoubleDTown
he's been found guilty, and sentenced to life, but his name is still abbreviated to "O." to protect him. That's ridiculous.
17:19 June 27, 2011 by trash head
> he's been found guilty, and sentenced to life, but his name is still abbreviated to "O." to protect him. That's ridiculous.

Thats not ridiculous.

1. The local has to obscure any reference to the real name, else they can get claimed.

2. The executing Justice is not just any person around.
18:06 June 27, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
How can the families' and prosecuter have NOT asked for a harsher sentence for a person who did this to their children? 15 years with parole? That's unbelievable to me. What parents wouldn't want this guy in prison for life? What a horrible situation. I feel bad for the victim's families.
18:08 June 27, 2011 by AbhilashD
Death penalty is opposed by idiots like my ex who says that only God has the right to give and take away lives. When I ask her (and them), so how did this man then take away life, she says, its all part of God's plan in his infinite wisdom. Bullshit. Tell that to the families whose children have been raped and/or murdered. As long as nothing happens to them, they talk and take a hypocritical moral high ground.

Death penalty please.
18:15 June 27, 2011 by Paranoid_Android

It can also be said that people who SUPPORT the death penalty are religious nuts (an eye for an eye etc..). In fact, it has nothing to do with religion. The death penalty is a barbaric act that brings us down to the same level as the perpetrator.

Imprison him for life and throw away the key.. no problem. But to take another persons life (no matter what they've done) is just wrong..
18:43 June 27, 2011 by AbhilashD
And then what, Paranoid_Android? Fear works with criminals. Life sentences under most forms of current law come with a parole clause. In India they're out after 14 years, here 15. Most countries don't add up years for all charges proven like the US does.

I really don't care about "levels". They are but a human construction has no philosophical meaning whatsoever.
19:00 June 27, 2011 by trash head
quote AbhilashD:

> I really don't care about "levels".

self pwnd
19:50 June 27, 2011 by AbhilashD
Right. Sit on your moral high horse.
19:53 June 27, 2011 by Paranoid_Android

And then what? And then they can sit in prison for the rest of their lives and think about what they've done. I'm not saying the current legal system is perfect. When someone gets a life sentence then it should be for life.

If you believe that capital punshiment is a deterrent then you're highly mistaken. Look at the states in the U.S where capital punishment is legal. Doesn't seem to be a deterrent at all.

And your view that morals are irrelevant is quite sad. Morals are all we have to distinguish between order and chaos..
20:23 June 27, 2011 by belladons
Immediately executing the death penalty would quickly cut crime. Stop playing the game and get rid of the low life scum running throughout the globe causing hate and discontent among the good.
22:26 June 27, 2011 by ChrisRea
"Immediately executing the death penalty would quickly cut crime."

Really? What is your statement based on? The American experience? Which actually shows that the death penalty does not decrease the level of criminality? If you have some hard evidence that it helps, please share it.
23:08 June 27, 2011 by AbhilashD
@ Paranoid_Android - Who creates and ratifies morals?
23:26 June 27, 2011 by Paranoid_Android
@AbhilashD - Without morals, how do you know the a/m child-killer did anything wrong?

Society creates and ratifies morals. Our whole justice system are based on them.

You might not believe it, but you have some as well.
00:14 June 28, 2011 by AbhilashD
I'm not disputing the existence of basic human morals per se. I'm just disputing this 'low level' - 'high level' position you're taking. By what standard of morality is sending a child double-murderer to the gallows immoral? I'm not being disdainful here, I'm genuinely asking. Most of the people I've encountered who've had this standard are practising Christians who believe that the right to give and take life is solely the prerogative of God. I am very uncomfortable with a morality based on religion.
01:10 June 28, 2011 by Paranoid_Android
I agree with you that opinions based on religious views can (but not always) be flawed..

I believe my moral views to be absolute. I believe that taking another persons life to be immoral, regardless of who they are or what they've done. NO MATTER WHAT.

Advocates of capital punishment seem to pick and choose their morals where they seem fit. They also believe that taking another persons life to be immoral, with the exception of murderers, rapists, blah, blah, blah. What about tax dodgers? burglars? Where does it end?

I have a question. When the time comes to finally execute murderer, would you push the button (or better still, pull the trigger)?
02:00 June 28, 2011 by TheChanger

I am a believer in the death penalty for capital cases (murder) and any especially grievous case involving a child (rape, torture, murder). I believe that the perpetrators of these crimes give up any right to life when they commit these crimes and I would not feel an ounce of pain if I were the one to condemn them.

You comment about the death penalty in the United States as if you are a learned scholar. If this were so you would be well aware that there has never been a true study of the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterent because no one knows exactly how it should be done. People quote statistics relating to per capita population and total number of murders, when in many cases these things have nothing to do with the issue.

No one asks people that "almost" murdered someone if the fear of the death penalty was the reason they stopped. Those that have already murdered will generally say it didn't factor in, but then they plead and beg not to be put to death. Many states in the US haven't reinstated the death penalty anyway.

If you want a true indicator of whether or not punishment can deter crime, look at Singapore. If you come back after studying that country and say that you cannot use punishment, or even death, as a deterent, you obviously didn't do any studying at all.

In relation to religion, this is a good way to strike at those making comments, but rarely does it hold ground. Religion and personal opinion changes drastically when your family is the family affected by the system, whichever way that happens to be.

Personally, I feel that if someone commits a capital crime or a severe crime against children and they confess....well, death. If they are convicted beyond all doubt, there is no question.....death. I don't feel any qualms about it and I don't think they should be allowed to continue living....period.
05:43 June 28, 2011 by belladons
Well there Chris Rea, if you want to condone crimes such as the one published in this story, so be it. I will never support it no matter how many times man tries to persuade me. As with abortion, man's views that support this sort of behavior means nothing to me.
08:21 June 28, 2011 by Paranoid_Android

The reason that there are no studies showing 'the benefits' of capital punishment is because there aren't any. People saying that "Immediately executing the death penalty would quickly cut crime" are just plain wrong.

You're basing your argument that capital punishment works on Singapore? I'm sure that there are many other factors that make Singapore a 'model' state (economy, education, culture, society).. By the way, have you ever been to Singapore?!? Let me tell you It's nice and shiny on the outside, but on the inside it's just as depraved as any other country.

Why didn't you base your argument on Nigeria? or China? Pakistan? maybe Sudan? or how about Iran?

Capital punishment is one of those never ending issues......

Don't get me wrong, criminals like this should be locked up for forever (and not just 15 years)... But to take their life in return is not the way..
08:49 June 28, 2011 by hOU
Surprising really, that there's no death penalty in Germany.

What w/ it being cheap - & German's being the meanest Scrooges out there! Geiz ist Geil!
10:33 June 28, 2011 by AbhilashD
I couldn't have put it better myself, thanks TheCharger.

Yes Paranoid_Android, if I were to condemn a murderer to the chair or the gallows or the squad, I'd have no qualms in pulling the trigger or pushing the button or cranking the lever.
11:28 June 28, 2011 by StaceyP
This is such a difficult subject - morals, religion, personal experience etc all affect our views.

I personally don't advocate capital punishment per say... but when someone has taken life (intentionally) why should they continue to live? I know if someone had killed a member of my family I would it very difficult to not expect the same 'payment' back and I am not a violent person.

But also... (in my opinion) there is a problem with locking up a murderer (& some other crimes) for a 'period of time'. Why should we also 'pay' for the crime? Prison/ psychiatric care are not cheap....

I, sadly, don't have the answer. Capital punishment is difficult because sometimes the system makes mistakes.... but on the other hand I'd prefer my taxes to be used for something more positive than feeding and protecting criminals especially when there is so much poverty around us anyway.
11:58 June 28, 2011 by LecteurX
So funny that every time a horrendous crime or the trial for it is in the news, here we go again on these endless discussions about death penalty, going nowhere, absolutely nowhere. Funny that of all the 41 countries that still resort to capital punishment, TheCharger cites tiny, wealthy Singapore to make a "point" about how good it is to society. Here are the 23 countries that carried out legal executions in 2010 alone, with the known number of executions in brackets:

Bahrain (1),

Bangladesh (9+),

Belarus (2),

Botswana (1),

China (2000+),

Egypt (4),

Equatorial Guinea (4),

Iran (252+),

Iraq (1+),

Japan (2),

Libya (18+),

Malaysia (1+),

North Korea (60+),

Palestinian Authority (5),

Saudi Arabia (27+),

Singapore (1+),

Somalia (8+),

Sudan (6+),

Syria (17+),

Taiwan (4),

USA (46),

Vietnam (1+),

Yemen (53+)

Other countries that executed offenders recently include India (2004), Pakistan (2008), Afghanistan (2008), Zimbabwe (2003), the Congo (2003), Ethiopia (2007), Indonesia (2008), Nigeria (2002), Lebanon (2004), Mongolia (2004), Uzbekistan (2005), etc.

Yup, Singapore indeed, by far the best example among all these blessed havens of safety and harmony, ri-ight. Why don't you compare two countries that are really comparable, like the US and Canada for example? No, I guess that wouldn't do, to use some valid arguments in this debate.

Just wanted to point out to this truly ridiculous statement. I won't say anything about the rest. I know too well these discussions don't go anywhere, so I won't bother. Although I must say it's nice to see how many people would volunteer to kill people if a judge (or a mob) told them to.

Like StaceyP above, I think it's a difficult matter and I don't think I have a perfect answer. Sometimes, criminals are released and they commit crimes again, which is truly appalling and makes me angry. However, I also don't think that the argument about "cost" is so valid either. It's not cheap to keep a criminal in the death row for years as in the US, the amount of time that is necessary to be sure that all appeals are exhausted, and then to "humanely" execute the convict. Of course it would be very cheap if it was conducted like in China or Saudi Arabia, with a swift execution (possibly in public, you can also charge the crowd) and you ask the family to pay the bullet back. But well, let's then not think about the risks of miscarriages of justice or any such niceties.
18:07 June 28, 2011 by TheChanger

I apologize for using a country that has managed to use the process as it is intended instead of fouling it up like many others.

I am guessing from your post that you are trying to insinuate that only countries that are considered dangerous or third world are using the death penalty. Point taken, many countries that are considered "evil" do in fact utilize the death penalty. That is probably part of the reason they are considered evil by some people.

This is basically the entire reason it is considered a deterent. If you think you will be punished very harshly for a crime, you are less likely to commit the crime. Obviously people that don't care about their life don't feel this way.

The USA is over-burdened with people sitting comfortably in jail cells while we feed them, clothe them, provide them with medical care, allow them to get college degrees, write books and LIVE.

Meanwhile, their victims are still dead, still raped or still otherwise victimized. I don't know about you, but if I were a victim of rape, or one of my kids were murdered, the death penalty wouldn't be a harsh enough penalty for me.

Punishment for crimes MUST take into account the victims and how their lives were affected. Too many people these days are scared to step on someone's civil rights, even when that person is a convicted murderer.

I hope that you never have to change your mind on this opinion because someone hurts or kills someone close to you. I hope that you never have to sit down and rethink this position while a loved one lies in a grave or an urn.
18:21 June 28, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Putting murderers and other extreme offenders away from a long period of time weighs heavy on the taxpayer. If they are sentenced to death, however, they STILL take a long time waiting on death row, meaning we end up paying for them either way. I agree with some here: if a murderer took one of my family, I'd want him dead too, at least at first. But there are some things to consider -

1)Life in prison is worse than death (other inmates will beat and rape them continuously, especially a child murderer or a rapist)

2)Obviously the death penalty is no deterrent from crime (the US has very high crime rates)

3)Judging how someone's life should be ended is a slippery slope, and the judgement is only as "moral" as the judge ("an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind")

Some things to think about.
19:42 June 28, 2011 by TheChanger
@Jack Kerouac

Paying for somone's incarceration for 14 years while they appeal is much different than paying for it for 50 years while they sit.

While I submit that prison is certainly not a nice place to be, and bad things can and do happen there, I also submit that MANY prisoners spend decades in the system without ever being victimized by other inmates. Also, if you are choosing life instead of death based on the idea that they will definately spend the rest of their lives being beaten and raped by other inmates, then it would seem to me that a death sentence is not necessarily as bad of an idea as many people here seem to think.

Once again, there have been no REAL studies on whether or not this is a valid deterent. Although some people like to state that this is because there is no value, it is truly because there is no way to accurately determine it. No one asks these questions of prisoners because the prisoner is apt to answer based upon his/her situation, not how they actually felt PRIOR to their crime. It also doesn't take into account crimes of passion, crimes while under the influence, and several other situations.

NOT @ Jack Kerouac......

I would love to rant on here about the evils of the death penalty. I would love to talk about how horrible it is and how everyone deserves to live and how taking a life for a life is barbaric and anti-christian.

However, I live in the real world. Prisons are over populated not because there is or is not a death penalty, but because of the breakdown of society and the fact that some people just don't give a damn. Yes, there are innocent people in prison and perhaps there may even be more innocent people on death row. That is why there is a legal system and a system of appeals. That is why there is a clause in our legal institutions that any new evidence that may come to light that would have changed or affected the verdict of any guilty case may be submitted for possible retrial.

The system is NOT perfect. It is however the only one we have and it is there to protect us from people that should not be on the streets. Prison does NOT rehabilitate. Prison does NOT allow a person to recast the dice and see what shakes out. Prison is punishment for crime.

Argue all you want, my simple answer is this....

I would much rather see my tax dollars go to assist homelessness, poverty, hunger, battered women, orphaned children, victims of violent crime, policemen, firemen and the freaking Humane Society that to see one red cent go to feed, clothe or shelter a person convicted of killing another human being.

Perhaps we should start shipping all of them to Germany so they can be taken care of?
20:26 June 28, 2011 by ChrisRea
@belladons #25

"if you want to condone crimes such as the one published in this story"

Apparently did not really read my post. In which sentence did you see a condonement? All I did was to challenge you to show some hard facts supporting the statement that Immediately executing the death penalty would quickly cut crime. Instead of providing some evidence/arguments, you just invented again something which has no connection with reality.

If you however have something objective to prove the statements I challenged, please put them on the table.
01:10 June 29, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
@TheChanger-"if you are choosing life instead of death based on the idea that they will definately spend the rest of their lives being beaten and raped by other inmates, then ...a death sentence is not necessarily as bad of an idea as many people here seem to think."

The people who are against the death penalty are NOT against severely punishing criminals. That's a false assumption. I think everyone agrees that a murderer deserve harsh punishment - we just disagree on how to execute that punishment. The only reason I can see condoning the death penalty would be because a few of the worst criminals are beyond rehabilitation. Certain people are psychotic and will never change, thus presenting a danger not only to society, but to other prisoners who might be serving only a few years. Otherwise, life imprisonment seems the best option.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
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