Shooter, 81, avoids jail for killing teen burglar

An 81-year-old man avoided a jail sentence on Monday for shooting and killing a teenage intruder who broke into his house in western Germany.

Shooter, 81, avoids jail for killing teen burglar
The 81-year-old shooter arriving in court. Photo: DPA

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The state court in Stade, Lower Saxony, rejected calls from both the state prosecutors and the defence lawyer for Ernst B. to be found not guilty of manslaughter.

But he was given a nine-month suspended sentence, meaning he will not go to prison. 

The teenager broke into the man's home in Sittensen with four other masked men in 2010, threatening him and demanding money.

But when his burglar alarm went off, the pensioner was able to get free and grab one of the guns he kept in the house.

As the raiders fled, he fired several shots, hitting the 16-year-old fatally in the back.

The rest of the gang were jailed for between three-and-a-half and four years. 

The dead boy's family spent years pressing courts and prosecutors to take on the case, which sparked a debate in Germany about the limits of reasonable self-defence.

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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.