In the trial of the murder of the Kassel District President Walter Lübcke, the defense attorney for the main defendant Stephan Ernst, Mustafa Kaplan, pleaded for manslaughter. The prerequisites for innocence and low motives such as insidiousness for a murder conviction were not present, said the Cologne lawyer on Thursday in his plea before the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court.
Lübcke was defenseless on the night of the crime, but not innocent. Stephan Ernst and Markus H. had addressed the district president in a hostile manner and Ernst had held the pistol at the ready. The judgment should be “proportionate, but also acceptable,” said Kaplan.
During the trial, the neo-Nazi Ernst admitted to having shot Lübcke on the terrace of his house in Wolfhagen-Istha late in the evening of June 1, 2019. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office demands life imprisonment for Ernst and certifies that his guilt is particularly serious. From the point of view of the prosecution, preventive detention is also necessary after the detention period. She also accuses him of attempted murder of the asylum seeker Ahmed I. Markus H. is accused of complicity in the murder of Lübcke.
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There were also no base motives as a murder characteristic, because Ernst did not want to gain any advantages from the crime, said Kaplan. The killing of Lübcke was a political goal for him: Ernst was guided by the mistaken belief that he was doing an act for the general public. He lived in a bubble with people who thought like him, in which it was not unusual to incite against foreigners and refugees. Ernst assumed he was acting in the general interest.
Stephan Ernst and co-defendant Markus H. selected Lübcke as a victim because they thought, because of Lübcke’s statements at a citizens’ meeting in Lohfelden in October 2015, that the politician prefers refugees and disadvantaged Germans, the defender said. At the time, Lübcke had told refugees that they could leave Germany if they did not share its values.
Ernst read for years afterwards how Lübcke was attacked on the Internet and made responsible for crime by foreigners, said Kaplan. In addition, Ernst repeatedly watched the execution videos of innocent civilians by Islamist terrorists. In this respect, Ernst would not have guided any base motives.
Kaplan called Markus H., who was also accused, an accomplice. According to Chief Public Prosecutor Dieter Killmer, H. himself was privy to the planning of the crime and supported it – “more complicity is not possible”. Defense lawyer Kaplan was previously a victim lawyer in the NSU proceedings. (with epd)