Expatica news

Cannibal is ‘mentally sound’

19 January 2004

KASSEL – A self-confessed gay cannibal is “mentally sound”, an expert witness testified before a court in Germany Monday, shoring up the defence’s hopes that the defendant may one day leave prison as a free man.

Sexual behaviouralist psychiatrist Dr. Klaus Beier told the court in Kassel that 42-year-old defendant Armin Meiwes showed no signs of mental incapacitation.

“The defendant is mentally sound and has an above-average intelligence and displays no psychiatric illnesses,” Beier testified.

The testimony by the expert witness could help the defence’s contention that Meiwes killed, dismembered and partially devoured a gay lover with the victim’s consent and as an act of “assisted suicide”.

The defence has actively chosen not to portray Meiwes as mentally deranged or incompetent. If found to be criminally insane, Meiwes could be incarcerated at a mental institution the rest of his life.

If, however, he is found guilty of murder, he would go free after serving his sentence, since there is no death penalty in Germany.

Earlier, the court heard testimony describing the defendant as a “cheerful” and “helpful” work mate.

A former co-worker of 42-year-old defendant Armin Meiwes said the one-time computer engineer had never displayed any untoward or unusual behaviour at the information technologies company where they had both worked in the 1990s.

“Armin was always a very cheerful co-worker, and very helpful,” the witness told the court. “He always had a ready smile and an encouraging word.”

As the case winds down toward an expected ruling on 30 January, Monday’s proceedings ushered in a final round of witness testimony.

On Friday a witness told the court that the man Meiwes confesses having killed had had a “castration fetish” and had begged his sex partners to mutilate his genitals.

A Berlin male prostitute told the court that the victim, Berlin computer expert Bernd-Juergen Brandes, had offered him large sums of money for sexual mutilation.

“He offered to sign over everything he owned if I would consent to castrate him,” the witness told the court in Kassel. “I couldn’t bring myself to do that, of course, and told him he was a very sick man. But he definitely had a castration fetish.”

Meiwes has admitted he killed and partially devoured Brandes in March 2001. He he and Brandes met via an Internet chat room and that Brandes wanted to be castrated, killed, slaughtered and eaten.

Friday’s testimony contradicted testimony by Brandes’ father, who told the court that his son had displayed no suicidal tendencies prior to his disappearance in March 2001.

Because Germany has no law against cannibalism, Meiwes is charged with murder “for sexual satisfaction” and “disturbing the peace of the dead” in the death of Brandes.

His defence is pressing for a lesser charge of “killing on demand” which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence and is normally applied in cases of “mercy killing”. Meiwes contends his victim had wanted to be killed and was aware of his fate.

But Brandes’ father, taking the witness stand Friday, said his son had never shown any signs of depression.

That supported earlier testimony by Brandes’ last male lover as saying Brandes was cheerful and showed no signs of depression ahead of his fateful encounter with Meiwes on March 8, 2001.

“Bernd-Juergen had absolutely no suicidal thoughts and had no crises or major problems of any kind,” testified the witness, who added that he and Brandes were making plans for their summer holidays when he suddenly vanished in March.

The court also heard that self-confessed gay cannibal Armin Meiwes had more than 200 “applicants” expressing wishes for him to slaughter and devour them.

Meiwes was tracked down and arrested in December 2002 after police became aware of an advertisement he had placed on the Internet looking for volunteers willing to be killed and eaten.

Thousands of pornographic pictures depicting acts of violence and torture were also found at the house near the town of Rotenburg, south of Kassel.

Subject: German news