German high court orders cannibal to be retried
22 April 2005, KARLSRUHE - Germany's Federal High Court ordered on Friday the retrial of self-confessed cannibal Armin Meiwes, 43, saying his eight-and-a-half-year prison term was too lenient.
22 April 2005
KARLSRUHE - Germany's Federal High Court ordered on Friday the retrial of self-confessed cannibal Armin Meiwes, 43, saying his eight-and-a-half-year prison term was too lenient.
Judges rejected a demand from Meiwes for an even shorter term, and agreed with prosecutors that the bizarre killing in 2001 had many of the hallmarks of murder rather than the lesser crime of manslaughter.
If convicted of murder, Meiwes would face a life term, though Germany paroles most lifers after 15 years.
The new trial is to take place in the metropolis of Frankfurt, far from the small city of Kassel where appalled judges last year watched Meiwes' home video of a man willingly having his genitals chopped off before being killed. Meiwes then ate various body parts.
Germany's highest regular court said provincial judges should not have to endure the disturbing case a second time.
A new trial would have to study whether the former army junior officer expected a sexual kick from slaughtering the Berlin engineer in a special 'killing room' at the defendant's rambling country home, judges said.
Killing for sexual gratification was murder, not manslaughter, and it was possible that Meiwes had meant to use the video later for sexual arousal. Presiding judge Ruth Rissing-van Saan said the killing itself may have been sexual.
She added that killing to enable another crime, such as desecrating the dead, also fitted the definition of murder.
Reviewing the evidence, she said the victim had been an "extreme masochist" who had expected an "ultimate high" from having his organ cut off at Meiwes' home in the small town of Rotenburg.
Meiwes, who admitted to fantasies since he was a child about eating people, made contact via the internet with the Berlin man.
Subject: German news