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Winnenden verdict

February 10, 2011

Two years ago, a 17-year-old went on a shooting rampage in the southern German town of Winnenden, killing 15 people and himself. Now the gunman's father has been found guilty of manslaughter and breaking gun laws.

Remembering the 15 victims in Winnenden
The 17-year-old took the gun from his father's bedroomImage: AP

The father of the 17-year-old boy who shot dead 15 people in the southern German town of Winnenden has been convicted of breaking gun laws, for failing to store his weapons properly, and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Jörg K., 52, was given a suspended jail sentence of 21 months. The Stuttgart court on Thursday found him guilty of 15 counts of involuntary manslaughter and 14 counts of careless bodily harm.

Judge Reiner Skujat ruled that K. had enabled the Winnenden school shooting to take place by leaving his gun and ammunition unsecured at home, where his son was able to help himself to them.

Worst school shooting since 2002

Families of the victims
Families of the victims lobbied for the father to be brought to trialImage: AP

In March 2009, Tim K. took a 9mm Beretta pistol from his father's bedside where he stored it, instead of keeping it under lock and key. Tim then took the gun to his old school and went on a killing spree, killing nine of his fellow students, three teachers and three others, before taking his own life.

It was the worst school shooting in Germany since April 2002, when a 19-year-old student in the eastern city of Erfurt shot dead 16 people. German gun laws were tightened in the wake of the Winnenden and Erfurt massacres. Both were carried out with legal weapons.

For the families of the victims, the trial of Jörg K. has been an opportunity to seek answers about what happened. They had lobbied hard for the father to be brought to trial and had urged the court to give him at least a token term of actual imprisonment.

Jörg K. was not in court for most of the trial, but showed up in the closing days to say he was sorry for what his son had done. His lawyer argued that he had already suffered enough.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, AP, dpa, KNA)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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