The judge said there was an "extreme severity of guilt" when handing down the sentence to the man identified as Catalin C. He has also been linked to the unsolved rape and murder of a French exchange student in Austria.
A German court on Friday sentenced a Romanian truck driver to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of a German jogger in the university city of Freiburg, southwest Germany, in November 2016.
The 40-year-old man, identified only as Catalin C., was arrested in June this year and has since been linked via forensic evidence to another rape and murder case from 2014.
The presiding judge, Eva Kleine-Cosack, found an "extreme severity of guilt" when handing down the sentence, saying the court would provisionally seek a special injunction making his release after 15 years — typically the earliest release for people convicted to a life sentence in Germany — highly unlikely. A final decision on that will be contingent on later trials Catalin C. is expected to face, the judge said.
Catalin C. admitted in court that he had sexually assaulted and killed the 27-year-old German woman, who had gone for an afternoon run. He said at the start of the trial that he had attacked the woman with a bottle and was "shocked" by his own actions.
"What I have done is unforgivable," Catalin C. said. But he denied having a sexual motive as the prosecution had alleged.
The court found that the woman was raped and then killed, and that she died as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by multiple blows to the head with a blunt object and the resultant loss of blood. It took a large search operation days to locate the woman's body, which was eventually found in the woods outside Freiburg, near the small town of Endingen.
The woman in the 2014 murder case Catalin C. has been linked to was also raped before she was killed. The 20-year-old French exchange student from the city of Lyon was murdered in the Austrian town of Kufstein, 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Endingen.
Court documents released on the same day as the sentencing stated that Catalin C. had admitted to the French woman's murder.
Austria has already filed an extradition request to try Catalin C. there, but he could appeal the ruling in Germany, which would delay him being transferred out of the country.
law/msh (AFP, dpa)