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Germany

Prosecutors suppress cause of death in high-profile murder trial

Munich prosecutors admitted they knew for months that Dominik Brunner died of a cardiac arrest, not fatal blows he suffered trying to protect teenagers from a pair of bullies. Brunner has been hailed as a national hero.

Candles set out on the platform where Brunner died

Brunner died on the train platform last September

Prosecutors in Munich stand accused of suppressing information about the medical condition of a business man allegedly beaten to death by two teenagers last September. A report released Saturday asserts that the victim, who has since been hailed as a national hero, died of a heart attack rather than from some 40 blows he received from his attackers.

One of the defendants with counsel

The teenaged defendants admitted to beating Brunner

Markus S. (19) and Sebastian L. (18) stand on trial for murdering 50-year-old Dominik Brunner at a train station in a Munich suburb after Brunner tried to protect a group of 13 to 15 year olds the two were bullying.

According to news reports, an autopsy showed that Brunner had a morbidly enlarged heart. Senior prosecutor Barbara Stockinger admitted Saturday that she had known for months that Brunner died of heart failure.

"As a result of punches and kicks, Brunner died when his heart stopped," said Stockinger, who does not plan to alter the charges based on the revelation. Stockinger would not comment on the health of Brunner's heart.

Sculptor Stefan Rottmeier with the memorial statue for Brunner

Stefan Rottmeier designed to statue in Brunner's honor

Brunner, who posthumously received the Federal Cross of Merit for civil courage from then-President Horst Koehler, reportedly intervened as the two teenagers tried to bully a group of younger teenagers into giving them 15 euros ($19).

Brunner's hometown, Ergoldsbach, is soon to unveil a statue of the deceased.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel called into question Brunner's heroism in February when it reported that witnesses saw Brunner - a trained boxer - throw the first punch.

Author: David Levitz (AFP/dpa)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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