The 25-year-old Daniel E. was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Freiburg on Monday for killing his Christian student flatmate last August in a crime ruled to be motivated by hate and disdain.
The 31-year-old victim from Paderborn had first met her killer when she moved into a student flatshare last summer. The young woman was an active member of her parish who wanted to later work for the church.
But Daniel E. vehemently rejected any form of religion, and twice before killing her had tried to start a fight, he told police.
On the day of the murder – just ten days after moving in together – he stormed into her room and asked her what her stance was on same-sex marriage. When she said that she rejected this kind of marriage, he stabbed her while she sat on her bed, with a knife hidden in his trouser pocket.
State prosecutors argued that she had no chance against her sole flatmate. She tried to flee via the stairwell, but there he stabbed her in the back several times and she died at the scene. The court determined that he had deliberately planned the attack on his roommate.
After he killed her, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide.
Daniel E., from Baden-Württemberg, was clear from the start of the police investigation about his motivation: his hatred of all religion.
The head judge on the case, Eva Kleine-Cosack, said that the murder was difficult to comprehend. Daniel E. had not been directly impacted by his flatmate’s religiousness, and hardly knew her beforehand.
“He killed her as a representative of her religion because he could not kill all believers,” the judge said.
He had written about his hatred of religion days beforehand in a “manifesto” found on his computer, along with violent video games and films.
An expert testified that he had seen Hannibal Lecter from the film The Silence of the Lambs as a role model.
Another expert found that Daniel E. suffered from a personality disorder, spending most of his time in his own room and avoiding contact with others while ordering even groceries online.
But ultimately the court decided that he was criminally liable for the murder and sentenced him to life with the potential for parole after 15 years.