Slaughterhouse fire: verdict based on “puzzle

Update: the defendant has since appealed against this verdict. He was elected on 7.5.Acquitted in second instance in 2018. Since his presence at the scene of the crime at the time in question could be refuted, both prosecutor and defense counsel pleaded for an acquittal.

For two years and eight months, a 63-year-old pensioner is behind bars for allegedly setting fire to the slaughterhouse in bamberg in december 2016. The fire caused more than 300,000 euros in property damage. The former employee werner L. (name changed) had acted in panic and destroyed incriminating documents in order to “retire without a blemish” so the verdict.
It had taken two days of trial, extensive evidence gathering and two dozen witnesses to forge a chain of evidence that had become tighter and tighter around the defendant’s neck. Because clear evidence, as prosecutor daniel heppt openly admitted, did not exist.

Other suspects

For neither had werner L. Caught in the act while tindering in the administrative building of the slaughterhouse, nor found during a house search burglary tools or spray cans with slogans like “tonnies out” on the inside and “morder” had been sprayed on walls and doors. Lawyer jochen kaller (bamberg) had tried in vain to bring other suspects, such as a former head butcher, other cashier employees or animal protection activists into play.

The defense attorney described the not previously convicted werner L. As a “man of integrity in gross distress” and spoke of “conjured up manipulations.” why should he, shortly before his retirement, have jeopardized his reputation and his pension because of a few small amounts?. He was wealthy and had not needed the money. Jochen kaller’s motion for acquittal went unheeded.

As well as the last word werner L.S, who again vehemently affirmed that he had nothing to do with the fire. However, the three-judge panel of district court judge marion aman and two honorary judges considered the defendant’s guilt to be supported by a number of pieces of evidence: one piece of the puzzle were the lies of werner L.S, who at first claimed not to have been at the slaughterhouse at all, only to admit later that he had made a control trip to “check up on things”.”

The statement that he had only lied to avoid suspicion was incomprehensible if his reputation as a conscientious civil servant was so impeccable. The second piece of the puzzle was the fact, which was not plausibly explained, that werner L. At the time of the crime, he had not been on the road in the vehicle known to the slaughterhouse, but in his daughter’s car.
Witnesses had seen him leave the countryside, which was fogged with smoke. The third piece of the puzzle was the defendant’s fright when he found a loose-leaf binder with receipt originals in his garage.

As a suspect, he had tried to take his own life on the highway near ebensfeld, but survived the accident with minor injuries. The fourth piece of the puzzle was the fact that the fire must have been set by an insider. Because the broken back entrance and the winding access to the offices are not easy to find for outsiders. The fact that no accelerant was used does not indicate a politically motivated attack. According to the manager of the slaughterhouse, the animal killers had probably paralyzed the production or the technical equipment.

The fifth piece of the puzzle was the materials that fell victim to the flames. These were not stacks of paper that had been haphazardly gathered together, but rather, of all things, the receipt slips and cash receipts ledgers that werner L. During his time in office, he had been led. Here, criminal court judge marion aman also saw the motive. Because werner L. Had by no means been the exemplary employee, but had used unusual accounting models and kept unaccounted cash in the office cupboard.

What’s the problem??

Irregularities in bookkeeping can no longer be traced through the fire. There was probably no controlling of the cash, regretted prosecutor daniel heppt. The prosecuting attorney admitted that he did not know exactly "what was going on", but who like werner L. Having worked in the slaughterhouse for long enough, around four decades, I’m sure I’ve come up with a way to save money and keep it aside.

If the verdict still stands after appeal and revision at the regional court of bamberg, it would have been a great success for werner L. Three major consequences: first, he actually had to go to jail, because prison sentences of more than two years can no longer be suspended for probation. Secondly, as a convicted civil servant, he would lose his pension rights, regardless of whether he committed the crime while on duty or in retirement. The only thing left for him would be a significantly lower statutory pension.

And thirdly, in several civil court cases, werner L. The claims for damages of the fire insurance of the slaughterhouse of almost 200 000 euros, as well as the city of bamberg for uninsured damages of about 100 000 euros to. In addition, there are the not inconsiderable costs of the legal proceedings.

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