Sweden’s convicted "laser man," who shot migrants in the 1990s, has gone on trial in Frankfurt denying murdering a cloakroom attendant. Prosecutors suspect John Ausonius was later emulated by far-right murderers.
John Ausonius' defense lawyer sought on Wednesday to have the Frankfurt trial abandoned, arguing that the 25 years since the attendant's murder conflicted with the principle of prosecuting crimes within a reasonable amount of time.
Ausonius, 64, was extradited to Germany last year from Sweden, where, since 1994, he has been serving a life sentence for shooting 11 people, one fatally, in the Stockholm and Uppsala areas.
The former military conscript used a rifle, equipped with a laser sight, to kill an Iranian engineering student in Stockholm in November 1991, and left other victims with severe disabilities.
In pretrial coverage, media speculated that Ausonius' racially motivated spree might have been a blueprint for the 2011 massacre by Norwegian Anders Breivik and for the "National Socialist Underground” (NSU) far-right group thought to have murdered 10 people in Germany.
In Frankfurt's Regional Court, Ausonius is accused of maliciously murdering a 68-year-old attendant by shooting her from close range on an open street — between her workplace, a Mövenpick restaurant, and her apartment — and then riding away on a bicycle with her handbag.
During a previous verbal exchange, he had accused her of having stolen his electronic calculator containing valuable data when she handed back his jacket in the cloakroom.
Testifying on Wednesday, Ausonius did not address the attendant's killing but instead told the court he did not want to be seen as the "scapegoat” for the NSU murders.
Munich trial since 2013
Alleged NSU member Beate Zschaepe has been on trial in Munich since 2013. The 42-year-old is accused of being an accessory in the murders of eight Turkish migrants, a Greek citizen and a German policewoman, between 2000 and 2007.
The far-right link emerged publicly only in 2011 when two other NSU members, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Bohnhardt, died in an apparent murder-suicide.
Four other suspects are also on trial in Munich.
Diversion from robberies
Before the Frankfurt court, Wednesday, Ausonius also claimed that he staged the shootings in Sweden to divert police from bank robberies he committed.
At the end of the Frankfurt trial, he is to be returned to Sweden to continue serving his life sentence.
ipj/sms (Reuters, dpa, AP)