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CRIME

Sweden’s ‘Laser Man’ charged with murder in Germany

One of Sweden's most notorious killers has been formally charged by German prosecutors over the murder of a Jewish woman in Frankfurt in 1992.

Sweden's 'Laser Man' charged with murder in Germany
Ausonius (centre) pictured in 1995. Photo: Yvonne Ă…sell/TT

Dubbed the “Laser Man” in Swedish media, 63-year-old John Ausonius gained notoriety in the 1990s when he went on a six-month shooting spree with a laser sight between 1991 and 1992 in Sweden, injuring 10 immigrants and killing one.

He is serving life behind bars for the attacks, and in January was sent to Germany by Sweden to stand trial for another murder, that of 68-year-old Blanka Zmigrod in Frankfurt on February 23, 1992.

READ ALSO: More background on 'Laser Man' Ausonius

On Tuesday, German prosecutors formally charged the Swedish citizen with murdering Zmigrod, who he had been in an argument with a week before she was killed 25 years ago.

The case has been built on both forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts from 1992, according to the prosecutor.

“The prosecutor considered there to be sufficient evidence, in part from witnesses, in part from bullet casings found at the crime scene which are consistent with ammunition secured in Sweden,” Nadja Niesen from Frankfurt's prosecution authority told Swedish news agency TT.

According to the charge sheet, Ausonius is alleged to have followed Zmigrod after she left the restaurant she worked at, then shot her in the head at close range. He also took her handbag before fleeing, and a week before the alleged murder had accused her of stealing an electronic calendar from him.

Ausonius agreed to be sent to Germany last January to stand trial after it was agreed that any eventual sentence would be served in Sweden. He denies the crime, but has admitted that he was in Frankfurt around the time of Zmigrod's death.

It is currently unclear when the trial will begin according the prosecutor, but it is hoped that it will take place during the summer.

READ ALSO: 'Laser Man' murderer starts prison blog

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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