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Court overturns concertmaster poison verdict

Court overturns concertmaster poison verdict
Court overturns concertmaster poison verdict

Remember the concertmaster in Schleswig-Holstein who fed rat poison to his mother and two colleagues? He was jailed for six and a half years last October.

Now, the federal superior court has ordered a retrial.

Here’s the court report:

Decision of June 12, 2024, judgment of June 26, 2024 – 6 StR 71/24

The Regional Court sentenced the defendant to a total prison sentence of six years and six months for attempted murder in conjunction with dangerous bodily harm and for dangerous bodily harm in two legally concurrent cases.

According to the findings, the defendant, who had long been the first concertmaster in a renowned symphony orchestra, developed fantasies of killing the second concertmaster in 2019, by whom he felt he was being bullied. He ordered a large quantity of the rat poison brodifacoum via an internet platform, which prevents blood clotting even in small doses and can therefore be fatal. However, it was not used against his competitor.

In September 2022, the defendant visited his mother, who lived in a senior citizens’ home, and mixed some of the poison into a food item she had consumed. A few days later, she began to bleed. Since the poisoning was discovered in time, her life was saved. The regional court classified this incident as attempted treacherous murder in conjunction with dangerous bodily harm.

Shortly after the first offense, the defendant gave two of his orchestra colleagues a cream cheese dip he had prepared to eat after a joint concert, into which he had previously mixed some of the rat poison. A few days later, both of them also suffered persistent bleeding. Their lives were also saved. The regional court classified this offense as dangerous bodily harm in two legally concurrent cases. It denied any intent to kill. The defendant merely wanted to teach the two colleagues a lesson because they had not supported him sufficiently during his arguments with the 2nd concertmaster. He had wanted to inflict pain on them, but not fatally injure them. Due to the significantly younger age and better general condition of his colleagues compared to his elderly mother, he trusted that the danger to life inherent in the poisoning would not materialize.

The 6th Criminal Senate of the Federal Court of Justice, based in Leipzig, rejected the defendant’s appeal against this judgment by decision of June 12, 2024. The conviction for the first offense is therefore final. In contrast, the Senate overturned the judgment for the second offense following the prosecutor’s appeal. The considerations with which the regional court rejected intent to kill in this offense do not stand up to legal scrutiny. They lack a sound assessment of the evidence because the regional court based its assumptions in favor of the defendant for which the evidence did not provide any concrete evidence. In this respect, the case must therefore be re-heard and decided.

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