Trial in Stuttgart: Shots in the Mercedes factory - life imprisonment

Eight shots.

Trial in Stuttgart: Shots in the Mercedes factory - life imprisonment

Eight shots. Four seconds. Then everything is over in the Sindelfingen Mercedes hall. Two people lie shot dead on the ground, the shooter only escapes for a short time and is quickly caught. The regional court in Stuttgart is convinced of his guilt in the two murders in the production hall last May. It sentenced the then 53-year-old man to life in prison for shooting his two superiors.

The chamber also determines the particular gravity of the guilt. With this judgment, which is not yet legally binding, release from prison after 15 years would be legally possible, but in practice it would be virtually impossible. “We hope that with the verdict we will give you back a sense of justice,” said the presiding judge in the direction of the relatives. “We cannot take away your suffering and loss.”

Almost six weeks after the start of the trial, the courtroom is filled to capacity for the verdict. The victims' relatives sit tensely in their seats as co-plaintiffs as the murderer of their husband, father and brother takes a seat in the dock and motionlessly follows the judge's words.

During the trial he explained that he had felt bullied and humiliated by his two 44 and 45-year-old superiors - Turkish compatriots. All three men were employed by the same logistics company on the factory premises. “His job was the thread on which his whole life hung,” his lawyer had read. The judge did not follow this argument, saying that the man's concerns "in no way corresponded to reality".

Triggered in seconds

Rather, out of a burst of motivation, the man reached for the small-caliber weapon in his waistband and pulled the trigger again and again in quick succession. The shots came as a complete surprise to the two unsuspecting victims; the man acted "with an absolute desire to destroy the two people who were killed" and then claimed to a colleague that he had "fulfilled his mission."

The judge said that the reason for the momentous argument in the hall was “ultimately invalid,” a dispute about the banal charging of an electric car. The thoughts of bullying certainly played a role, although the two victims were described by witnesses as polite and helpful.

The fear of a possible dismissal and of slipping back into unemployment could also have been a deciding factor. Especially since the defendant does not have a residence permit, but only a so-called fictitious certificate. According to his own statement, the required passport was not renewed by the Turkish consulate because of statements critical of the government. If he lost his job, he was threatened with expulsion from Germany.

From his lawyer's point of view, reaching for the weapon was "like a kind of blackout", an "expression of deep despair in high affective excitement". Nevertheless, the regional court decided on the highest sentence available under German law, thereby following the demands of the public prosecutor and a total of twelve co-plaintiffs.

The relatives now have the opportunity to close the case - at least with the legal side, said the lawyer for the two families. “Experience shows that the process of dealing with grief will only begin now.” The two men were murdered for a trivial reason. “It will be even more difficult to process this grief,” he continued.