The young man is the only one of the family who manages to be present in the courtroom that day. Visibly emotional, he listens to what the accused buddy says about the accident in which his little brother died.
His parents and his other two brothers actually wanted to come to the hearing, says the young man. "But it doesn't work." His parents were "simply broken". Only when one of the first responders describes the situation that he found in the terrible accident in 2019 on a motorway near Munich does the young man leave the courtroom.
The defendant apologizes in tears
The trial of a fatal speeding accident began on Wednesday at the Munich district court. Across from the young man who lost his brother, that brother's accused friend sits and sobs. "At no time did we expect anything to happen," says the 26-year-old student, before breaking down in tears and asking his lawyer to continue reading his statement. "I am very sorry for everything that happened," the statement continued. "I would like to take this opportunity today to sincerely apologize." He "would do anything to undo it".
The public prosecutor accuses the accused of illegal motor vehicle racing in combination with negligent homicide. In 2019, he is said to have had an accident on Autobahn 95 in a rented sports car at at least 305 kilometers per hour, in which his passenger died. A witness who saw the sports car speed past her car shortly before the devastating accident speaks of a "rocket". "It looked like a bomb had gone off," says a doctor who happened to be one of the first at the scene of the accident and provided first aid.
There were probably also illegal car races
And a third motorist reports that just before the accident, he saw two expensive cars overtake him and then drove off at breakneck speed. He suspects that they slowly drove up to his car to "see whether we weren't civilian police." The public prosecutor assumes that the accused, his friend who was killed and other buddies rented luxury cars, drove them around for days and also engaged in illegal races. In at least 149 cases they are said to have been traveling far too fast.
In the testimony of the accused, it sounds a little different. You only wanted to drive to the Tegernsee with the fancy cars. But because the freeway was so full during the trip, they decided to drive off again at night to really test the fast car.
"During the journey, the accused - in agreement with his passenger - was concerned with achieving the highest possible speed with the vehicle on the route traveled and accelerating it to the maximum speed," the indictment says.
For a long time it was unclear who was behind the wheel
The emphasis on consensual is very important in this case and the reason that the offense is charged in the district court, which can only impose a maximum sentence of four years - and not in the district court. Otherwise, the penalty for an illegal car race that ends in death is up to ten years. Speeders have also been charged with murder after fatal accidents.
And that's not the only thing that's special about this case: it took nine months for the investigation to show that the accused had driven the car - and not the dead man, whose seat had been thrown out of the completely destroyed, burning car.
The defendant stated that he could not remember the accident or who was driving. The two friends would have alternated again and again and he did not want to accuse him wrongly. He simply didn't know that he was driving and not his friend. The brother of the dead man called the accused's behavior after the crime "cowardly, disgusting and subhuman". The fact that his little brother was long considered the "death driver from Gauting" put an additional heavy burden on his family.