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CRIME

US ‘murder’ gran ‘had problems from WWII’

A German grandmother who was to be tried on Monday in Florida accused of drowning her grandson, was insane – at least partly due to an injury she suffered in World War II, her defence has argued, delaying the trial.

US 'murder' gran 'had problems from WWII'
Photo: DPA

Marianne Bordt is accused of drowning her five-year-old American-born grandson Camden Hiers, in a bathtub while he was on holiday with her in Florida in 2010.

She was said to be distraught at the fact that his parents were divorced. Bordt then tried to kill herself but failed and was found by her husband.

The start of her trial was delayed when the prosecution asked for more time to prepare a rebuttal against the last-minute defence witness – a German-born psychoneurologist, local paper the Apalach Times reported last week.

Manfred Grieffenstein had carried out a series of tests on the 72-year-old and was expected to tell the Florida judge that she has mental problems which date back to an injury she suffered during World War II, the paper said.

He is expected to argue that Bordt suffered a head injury in a bombing raid by Russian forces on her hometown of Breslau on October 7, 1944. This, combined with symptoms of depression and paranoia contributed to the crime, he will argue, the paper said.

But the prosecution say they need time to find an expert in dementia and memory loss who could contradict Grieffenstein’s argument, so the judge opted to postpone Monday’s trial until both parties were ready.

The defence are pleading insanity and think she should be detained in a Florida mental hospital for the rest of her life. Prosecutors have called for the death penalty.

Judge Angela Dempsey has, according to the Apalach Times, encouraged the two sides to sit down and reach a deal outside of court. Continuing the trial would mean flying in German-speaking witnesses and end up very expensive, she said.

Bordt, from village of Nufringen, near Stuttgart, is being held at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. She speaks no English, and has had extensive counselling to help her cope with the stress of the trial.

The Local/jcw

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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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