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CRIME

Two go on trial for brutal ‘homophobic’ murder of 1990s pop star in Berlin hostel

On Wednesday the trial started of two men who allegedly sexually assaulted pop singer Jim Reeves so violently last year that he died a painful death due to the injuries.

Two go on trial for brutal ‘homophobic’ murder of 1990s pop star in Berlin hostel
Jim Reeves. Photo: DPA

The two Polish defendants, aged 23 and 30, maintained their silence on the first day of the murder trial in a Berlin court.

They are accused of torturing the 47-year-old Reeves to death in a six-bed hostel room in the Charlottenburg district in January 2016. Prosecutors argue that there was a homophobic motive behind the crime.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reeves was staying in the hostel after recently splitting up with his partner. On the morning of February 1st another hostel guest found him dead.

The two defendants reportedly told police investigators after their arrests that they had felt insulted by Reeves, who they claimed had attempted to chat them up.

A postmortem showed that Reeves had been horrifically tortured before his death. His attackers had raped him using a large object and the assault was so violent that he died due to internal bleeding.

The two defendants were passing through Berlin at the time of the crime. Police in Poland arrested one of them a few weeks later. Once he had served time for a different crime in Poland he was extradited to Germany. The other man was arrested in Spain at a later date after attempting to flee with €7,000 in cash.

Reeves was the front man of the eurodance band Squeezer, which hit the peak of its popularity in the late 1990s. They sold over a million records worldwide, with their biggest hit Sweet Kisses hitting the top of the singles charts in Spain in 1996.

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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