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Germany

Teenagers sentenced for murder that shocked Germany

Two teenagers have been convicted of murder and causing bodily harm. The young men had beaten a 50-year-old at a train station in Munich after the man tried to protect four students from being attacked.

A portrait of Dominik Brunner covered by flowers

The beating death of Dominik Brunner shocked the country

Nearly a year after Dominik Brunner died after being beaten at a train station, a Munich court sentenced 19-year-old Markus S. to nine years and 10 months for murder, just below the maximum sentence of 10 years for youth offenders. His friend Sebastian L., who is now 18 years of age, got seven years for assault resulting in death.

"The perpetrators wanted to take revenge on Brunner for interfering," Judge Reinhold Baier said on Monday.

Markus S. in particular "accepted the fact that his victim could die," with both men attacking Brunner "violently and repeatedly," the judge added. He said it was clear that their actions were the cause of Brunner's death.

Joachim Herrmann, interior minister of the state of Bavaria, where Munich is located, welcomed the verdict, saying it was "a clear signal that we do not tolerate brutal violence."

Courageous move

The fight broke out after Brunner had tried to protect four students from being attacked by the two youths at a train station in the Munich suburb of Solln on Sept. 12, 2009. The two young men had tried to force the students to give them money.

Marcus S. and Sebastian L.

Markus S. and Sebastian L. attacked their victim 'violently and repeatedly'

Prosecutors had demanded the maximum sentence of 10 years for youth offenders for Markus S. and eight years for Sebastian L. Although Markus S. had already turned 18 at the time of the crime, German law gives judges the option of treating persons under 21 years of age as adolescents.

The defense had argued for a more lenient sentence, arguing that Brunner did not die of the injuries and had also hit the two teenagers first.

Order of merit

The 50-year-old Brunner sustained serious injuries, but died of a heart condition brought on by the beating, rather than the injuries themselves. Witness statements also identified him as being the first one to lash out at one of the men, albeit to prevent him from attacking the other youths.

Brunner was awarded the German Order of Merit posthumously for acting as a role model of civil courage.

Author: Nicole Goebel (apn/dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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