May 11th, 2006 06:52 EST
German Cannibal Convicted On Second Go 'Round
Armin Meiwes, a 44 year old computer technician, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison in a retrial case. Meiwes had admitted to killing and eating 43 year old Bernd Juergen Brandes, a man he met on the Internet.
Reopened in January, the second trial was held after a federal appeals court overturned his first conviction of manslaughter, in order to allow prosecutors to seek more severe sentencing. Federal judges ordered a retrial, arguing that in rejecting the murder charges, the lower court had failed to give enough consideration as to a sexual motive being behind the killing.
Presiding over the retrial case in Frankfurt state court was Judge Klaus Drescher, who described the crime as “a particularly perverse murder.” He further commented that Meiwes lacked remorse. “He acted out of self-seeking motives and has shown that, to this day, he does not regret his actions,” Judge Drescher said. Meiwes’ attorneys argued that the court should have convicted him of the lesser offense, killing on demand, making the point that Meiwes was acting on his victim’s say-so.
Meiwes, who had captured the horrific murder on tape, again confessed in detail to the gruesome events in March 2001during the retrial. Meiwes’ version is that using the pseudonym ‘Franky’, he had placed an ad on the Internet seeking a young man for “slaughter and consumption,” to which Brandes answered. Brandes, who traveled from Berlin to Meiwes’ home in the town of Rotenburg, willingly met his death. According to Meiwes, Brandes had asked to be stabbed to death after consuming a bottle of cold medication to lose consciousness.
On Tuesday, Judge Drescher said that the victim could have been saved after the stabbing, but the defendant testified that Brandes had wanted to “be eaten alive.” It is this reasoning that Meiwes continued his account of the grisly events. “Otherwise, I would never have done it,” Meiwes told the court.
Meiwes claimed that Brandes had urged him to continue in more murders after his death. He also claimed that he had doubts on whether to go through with the killing, saying, “I wanted to eat him. I didn’t want to kill him.” Before Brandes’ ultimate demise, the two had attempted to consume the man’s body together. Parts of Brandes’ body were then frozen and eaten by Meiwes after the murder.
Meiwes posted another deadly consuming ad on the Internet, and after a student in Austria alerted authorities, he was tracked down and arrested by police in December 2002. Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter in the court of Kassel, and was sentenced to 8 ½ years in early 2004.
Tuesday’s guilty verdict found the murder to be done in part to satisfy his sexual urges. Georg Stolpmann, a court appointed psychiatric expert testified that there was “significant danger of a repeat” incident by Meiwes. Meiwes’s lawyers did make some lee-way in court. They secured a ban on the screening of a film inspired by his case. Judges agreed, saying that the movie infringed on Meiwes personal rights by detailing events in his private life. There’s no word yet on whether Meiwes and attorneys would appeal Tuesday’s ruling.