Bonn · On Tuesday, the public prosecutor's office demanded a prison sentence of three years for the accused policeman, who had fatally injured his 23-year-old colleague Julian Rolf with a shot in the neck on November 26, 2018.
The counsel for the joint plaintiff later described the facial expression of the accused as a grin. The young man, whose gunshot from the police headquarters had led to the death of his colleague Julian Rolf, followed the public prosecutor's plea in disbelief. Timo Hetzel on Tuesday demanded three years' imprisonment for negligent killing. This would make a suspension on probation impossible; the maximum for this option is two years.
In essence, the public prosecutor's office and the joint plaintiff did not believe the defendant's version of the course of events. Although the individual points of the course of events presented by him could not necessarily be refuted on the basis of the available evidence, the scenario of an accidental firing would remain "highly implausible" and contradict all previously trained behaviour sequences, Hetzel had explained.
There were not many reasons against the defendant, but they were all the more serious: "It will remain his secret why he did not simply say ‚Bang!'," said the public prosecutor. The prosecution accuses the shooter of holding his service weapon in his hands in the belief that he had pointed a red training weapon at the colleague and pulled the trigger.
The defense stuck to its version of the accidental firing and pleaded for a lenient sentence before the defendant, in tears, apologized to the parents of the murdered man, who were present as joint plaintiffs. In principle, there is agreement on the allegation of negligent killing. And what happened in the lead up to the crime was committed is also undisputed. On the premises of the Federal Police in Sankt Augustin-Hangelar, the colleagues underwent anti-terror training with so-called red weapons: They can be used like sharp weapons, but are harmless and painted signal red for safety.
In the course of the exercise, uniformed trainers were also shot at, playing the "baddies". After the lunch break, the officers returned to the police headquarters in Ramersdorf, where a rescue exercise with the training weapons was on the agenda. The story that the defendant tells about the further course of events then deviates clearly from the accusations of the public prosecutor's office: Like all his colleagues’, his weapon had been stored in his locker and he removed it with his right hand. With his left hand he had locked the valuables compartment inside the locker and then the locker itself. Because the gun was not properly engaged in the holster, he pulled the pistol out again while stepping out of the locker room into the hallway in front and held it in front of his chest to check it. Frightened by a noise, he then accidentally pulled the trigger after passing through the door. It was clear to him that he had violated many previously trained rules.
Public prosecutor Hetzel was sure that almost everything spoke against this version: "In order to meet the 23-year-old colleague in the manner described, he would have had to step through the door almost at a right angle. It was also conspicuous that in the course of the interrogation he increasingly admitted that he could have held the weapon higher than chest level. Last but not least, he repeatedly confused the first witnesses with the red weapon.“
"I don't know whether you understood even rudimentarily what is important for the relatives," the representative of the joint plaintiff addressed the defendant directly in her very emotional statement. The parents and sister of the victim simply wanted to know the truth. That is the only reason why they participated in the trial, and he does not fulfill this need with his testimony.
The day of the trial had begun on Tuesday with the questioning of a specialist from the State Criminal Investigation Office about the investigation of traces of gunpowder. She cleared up the concerns expressed by expert Burkhard Madea on Monday regarding the quality of the previous expert opinion from her Office: An estimate of the distance from which the shot was fired was not possible on the basis of the victim's examined clothing. A so-called "wiper ring" was missing. This ring consists of smoke particles in the firing channel and can provide information about the distance between the shooter and the victim if necessary. Possibly such particles were washed away by the strong bleeding after the shot into the neck.
(Original text: Leif Kubik, Translation: Mareike Graepel)