Berlin — A German man was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for shooting a gas station clerk after a dispute over a face mask.
A murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein in September 2021 shocked the nation. The defendant was also found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon because he did not have a license for the gun used in the killing, German news agency dpa reported.
Authorities said a 50-year-old man told officers he acted “out of anger” when he tried to buy beer at a gas station after a 20-year-old clerk refused to serve him without a mask. rice field.
At the time, Germany mandated the use of masks in stores to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Police said the suspect, a German identified by local media as Mario N., left the gas station after the conflict, but returned 30 minutes later and shot a clerk in the head.
He initially fled the scene, but turned himself in after police launched a massive search.
A state court in Bad Kreuznach found that the defendant’s radical right-wing stance and hostility to the state were the main motives for the killing, the DPA reported.
The defendant viewed the clerk as a representative of the state and its coronavirus policy and decided to “lead by example” for him after insisting on mask mandates.
Defense attorneys were seeking a manslaughter conviction in a trial that lasted six months. They argued that the suspect, who was intoxicated when the fatal shooting took place, could be held criminally responsible for his actions, according to experts.
Prosecutors had asked the court to find the defendant “guilty”. This would have effectively prevented early release after 15 years, which is typical for Germans sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge did not.