The heavy hall door opens and a single sentence ends the murder trial of the violent death of 15-year-old Anastasia from Salzgitter. "The chamber has sentenced the accused to eight years in prison for murder." Court spokeswoman Lisa Rust is not allowed to say more into the many microphones. The proceedings in the Braunschweig district court against the 15-year-old alleged perpetrator were not public.
The youth was charged with treacherous murder. On June 19, the then 14-year-old and a 13-year-old classmate are said to have suffocated the girl on an overgrown property in Salzgitter and hidden her body in a bush. Shortly after relatives reported the youth missing, officers discovered Anastasia's body in a park in Salzgitter-Fredenberg.
There is dismay in the region
Shortly thereafter, the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig announced that two young people aged 13 and 14 were considered urgent suspects. The autopsy revealed that Anastasia was suffocated - the cause of death is lack of oxygen. According to the investigators, the alleged perpetrators and victims came from the same neighborhood, went to the same school and had contact with each other. All three have a Russian migration background. The 15-year-old was Russian, the two boys have German and Russian nationality.
The 14-year-old has to be remanded in custody, the 13-year-old is not of criminal age and can be prosecuted for the crime. For days there was bewilderment in the region. "I condemn this cruel and cold-blooded crime in the strongest terms," said Salzgitter's Lord Mayor Frank Klingebiel at the time. The police are on site in the affected district "with an increased presence" and are trying to talk to people to calm the situation. Officials are on duty at the schools to address fears and uncertainties. At a moving funeral service in the city cemetery, numerous people say goodbye to the girl.
The indictment came in November. It is said that the three met to eat cherries on the overgrown property. The girl felt feelings for the younger man that were more intimate than friendship. According to the prosecutor's office, the plan was to kill the girl when they met. Unnoticed, the 13-year-old is said to have approached the victim from behind and choked him until he lost consciousness. The boys then smothered their victim, according to the indictment. According to prosecutors, it was not clear why they came up with the murderous plan.
The defense has appealed
In the trial from the end of December, the young person is accused of having killed the girl "acting jointly with a person under criminal responsibility". Two months later, the eight years of youth imprisonment. Nothing more, there are no details about the course of events, nothing is known about the motive and not a word gets out about the justification for the guilty verdict.
Defense attorney Thilo Schäck announced in court that he wanted to have the result checked. "We have already appealed against the verdict," he says. According to his own statements, the lawyer had demanded acquittal during the proceedings and argued that the accused had not committed the crime. As was learned from judicial circles, the public prosecutor's office had pleaded for eight years and six months, the representatives of the co-plaintiffs wanted one year more.
Despite the conviction, the end is now very unsatisfactory, says lawyer Steffen Hörning, representing the co-plaintiff. According to him, too many questions remained unanswered. "Very composed, very calm," the family would have accepted the verdict and listened carefully to the translation of the reasoning. With a view to the terrible act and the consequences for the family, there can be no question of satisfaction.
Hörnig calls for an age test for criminal responsibility. In this specific case, it is unbearable to state that a 13-year-old boy is considered innocent and cannot be prosecuted for the alleged crime. "It's hard to deal with," he says. A daily look at life shows that 12 or 13 year olds can no longer be compared in their mental and moral maturity with 12 or 13 year olds 40 or 50 years ago.