German jailed for life in double police murder
A German man was given a life sentence on Wednesday for shooting dead two police officers to escape being caught for illegal game hunting during a routine traffic check.
The regional court in Kaiserslautern found 39-year-old Andreas Schmitt guilty of the killings in January this year, which sent shockwaves across Germany.
His co-defendant, referred to by the court as Florian V., was found guilty of abetting illegal poaching.
The 33-year-old was in the car with Schmitt when the officers discovered dead game in the boot, investigators said.
“We are all to this day horrified that a supposed routine control could turn into a fatal incident,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement after the verdict.
The victims were a 24-year-old woman police officer still in training and her colleague, a 29-year-old man.
The young woman was killed by a single shot to the head, while the man was shot four times, investigators said.
The officers were able to report that they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots were being fired before radio contact broke off.
When backup arrived, the woman was already dead and the man fatally injured. The perpetrators had fled the scene.
The crime in the Kusel district of Rhineland-Palatinate state triggered a major manhunt, with police deploying helicopters and sniffer dogs, sealing off roads and warning local residents not to pick up hitchhikers.