Cannibal Confesses to Killing Partner Invited to ‘Slaughter and Consumption’

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The New York Sun

FRANKFURT, Germany – A man who admitted killing and eating an acquaintance he met on the Internet was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison yesterday following his retrial in a case that engrossed and appalled Germany.

Announcing the verdict at the Frankfurt state court, presiding Judge Klaus Drescher described the killing as “a particularly perverse murder.”

Armin Meiwes’s lawyers had argued that the court should instead convict him of the lesser offense of “killing on demand,” on the grounds that he was only following his victim’s wishes.

“He acted out of self-seeking motives and has shown that, to this day, he does not regret his actions,” Judge Drescher said. Dressed in a gray suit, Meiwes watched calmly as the verdict was read out.

The 44-year-old computer technician’s retrial opened in January. It was held after a federal appeals court overturned his initial manslaughter conviction to allow prosecutors to seek a tougher sentence.

At the retrial, Meiwes once again made a detailed confession, telling the court his version of the grisly details of the March 2001 killing of Bernd Juergen Brandes at Meiwes’s home in the central town of Rotenburg.

Meiwes said Brandes – who had traveled from Berlin after answering his Internet posting under the pseudonym “Franky” seeking a young man for “slaughter and consumption” – wanted to be stabbed to death after drinking a bottle of cold medicine to lose consciousness.

Yesterday, the judge said Brandes could still have been saved at the time of the stabbing.

The defendant testified that Brandes, 43, had wanted to “be eaten alive.”

“Otherwise, I would never have done it,” Meiwes, who captured the killing on video, told the court during the trial.

Meiwes also maintained that Brandes had urged him to carry out more killings after his death.

In convicting Meiwes of murder, the court found yesterday that he killed partly to satisfy his sexual urges. A court-appointed psychiatric expert, Georg Stolpmann, testified that he saw “significant danger of a repeat” offense by Meiwes.

The defendant claimed he had hesitated before going through with the act.

“I wanted to eat him – I didn’t want to kill him,” he told the court.

Before Brandes was killed, the two attempted to eat parts of the man’s body together, Meiwes said.

Meiwes froze parts of the body and ate more after the killing.

Police tracked down and arrested Meiwes in December 2002 after a student in Austria alerted them to a message Meiwes had posted on the Internet seeking a man willing to be killed and eaten.

In early 2004, a court in the city of Kassel convicted Meiwes of manslaughter and sentenced him to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Federal judges overturned the original ruling last year and ordered a retrial, arguing the lower court, in rejecting murder charges, failed to give sufficient consideration to a sexual motive behind the killing.

There was no immediate word on whether Meiwes would appeal yesterday’s ruling.

Meiwes has scored one legal victory, securing a ban by another court on the screening of a film that was inspired by his case. Judges upheld his claim that the movie detailed events in his private life and infringed his personal rights.

The New York Sun

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