"Public excluded" reads the illuminated sign next to the jury courtroom in the Braunschweig Regional Court. When the large, heavy hall door slams shut, a murder trial begins behind it, which still causes horror and bewilderment months after the crime. A 14-year-old boy is sitting in the dock. Together with a 13-year-old friend, he is said to have killed 15-year-old Anastasia from Salzgitter in the summer.
The public prosecutor's office accuses the youth of a treacherous murder. Together with his classmate, who is not of criminal age because of his age, the accused is said to have suffocated Anastasia on June 19 on an overgrown plot of land in the Salzgitter-Fredenberg district and hidden her body in a bush. According to the juvenile criminal law, he faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years.
From the start, the investigators kept a low profile with information about a possible motive and the exact course of events. According to the published findings, the three knew each other from school and occasionally met in their free time for walks and to talk. The two boys are said to have been planning to kill the 15-year-old since around mid-May.
Prosecutor: "Victim was affectionate towards the 14-year-old"
"The subsequent victim was affectionate towards the 14-year-old and saw in him a trustworthy friend who liked her," prosecutors said when the indictment was brought in November. At an arranged meeting on the day of the crime, the 13-year-old, in consultation with the 14-year-old, is said to have approached the girl from behind unnoticed and choked her until she lost consciousness. Then the two are said to have suffocated the 15-year-old.
According to the prosecution, it could not be finally clarified why the boys killed their classmate. Two days after the crime, the body of Anastasia, who had previously been reported missing by her relatives, was discovered. The horror of the cruel act was followed by a moving funeral service with great sympathy for the young victim.
According to the public prosecutor's office, the victim and the alleged perpetrators have a Russian migration background. The 15-year-old was a Russian national, the alleged perpetrators have German and Russian nationality.
13-year-old in a psychiatric hospital
The Juvenile Court Act provides for the exclusion of media representatives, said court spokeswoman Lisa Rust. The accused is a child within the meaning of the law, which is particularly worthy of protection. The idea of education is in the foreground and should be valued more than the interest in the legal system or in the public. The alleged accomplice is not criminally responsible and was placed in a psychiatric clinic with the consent of his parents.
From the trial against the 14-year-old, little is likely to leak out. Maybe that's why lawyer Steffen Hörning, who represents the father and half-sister in the joint prosecution, chose rather drastic words before the courthouse. "The family is extremely bad," he said. Almost all the medicines needed are in therapy and can hardly live their lives.
The family is crying out for clarification. The girl's death tore a big hole. "I assume that at the end of the taking of evidence we will determine the guilt of the accused and that he will be sentenced for the terrible act," said Hörning.
Defense attorney wants acquittal for 14-year-olds
The defense attorney for the accused, however, announced that he wanted to demand an acquittal. "I assume that my client did not kill the girl," he said before the trial. He also assumes that the 14-year-old made no contribution to the girl's death. For the time being, the young person will not comment on the allegations, but will only answer questions about his biography, announced Thilo Schäck.
According to the defense attorney, a school psychologist and a good friend of the victim were to be heard as witnesses after the reading of the indictment. The process will continue on January 9th. A total of 13 hearings are planned until the end of February.