Life sentence for the German who killed a gas station attendant for asking him to wear a mask | International | The USA Print

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The convicted of the crime of the gas station, this Tuesday in the provincial hearing of Bad Kreuznach (Germany) before the reading of the verdict.
The convicted of the crime of the gas station, this Tuesday in the provincial hearing of Bad Kreuznach (Germany) before the reading of the verdict.THOMAS FREY (AFP)

The gas station killer, as the German press has called him, has been sentenced this Tuesday to life imprisonment. The man, identified as Mario N., shot and killed a gas station attendant in September 2021 who required him to wear a mask to stay in the store. The crime, which occurred a few days before the general elections, shocked Germany and triggered an intense debate about the radicalization of pandemic deniers.

A court in Bad Kreuznach, in the western state of Rhineland Palatinate, has convicted the 50-year-old author of murder and illegal possession of weapons. The judges say that he acted out of “political motivation” and because of his hatred of the established system: “The accused was convinced that he had the right to resist and murder.”

The reconstruction of the events made by the Police by reviewing the gas station’s security cameras, together with the defendant’s confession, left no room for doubt about the authorship. The crime occurred on a Saturday night in the municipality of Idar-Oberstein. Mario N. arrived at the register to pay for two cases of beer shortly before eight in the evening. He did not have a mask and got into an argument with the employee, a 20-year-old student, Alexander W., who refused to serve him. He left, but the parking lot camera caught him raising his fist threateningly.

An hour and a half later, the man appeared again in front of the box, again with beer in hand, although he had previously bought several cans in another establishment. This time he was wearing a mask, but he had lowered it, according to Trier Police said in a statement.. After another brief exchange of words, Mario N. took a pistol from his pocket and shot the student in the head, who died instantly. The gun was a gift from his father; he had no license.

The assailant fled on foot with apparent calm. The next morning he went to turn himself in at a police station and was arrested. He gave access to his mobile phone and his laptop, in which the Police found chat in which their radicalization was clear. In the first interrogations, the man acknowledged that he had acted “out of anger” after the clerk’s refusal to sell him beer for not wearing a mask and that he rejected the protection measures against the coronavirus.

The case is similar to that of Walter Lübcke, the CDU politician who was shot in the head in 2019 at his home in Hesse, in the west of the country. The murderer, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment, is a neo-Nazi who chose him as a victim because he defended the immigration policy of the then chancellor and fellow party member Angela Merkel. The crime, the first by an elected representative since 1945, raised the specter of far-right terrorism in Germany.

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The mask Killer, as the media has also called him, had radicalized over the years to the point of developing a fierce hatred “of the government and the system” and saw the gas station employee not as a person but “as a symbolic representative of the system”, highlighted the judge who has read the judgment.

During the trial, Mario N.’s defense attorney tried to present him as a person who acted under the influence of alcohol and was not fully aware of his actions. The court has dismissed that line of defense by ensuring that drunkenness did not play any role in the crime, since he did not present any “neurological or motor deficit” and was fully aware of the consequences.

Private conversations found by investigators helped determine that he knew exactly what he was doing. In a chat with his brother-in-law, he had written that he was willing to act “to set an example.” Months before the crime he told her: “This year I will end up in jail for homicide or murder.” After the crime, he even sent her a video in which he confesses: “I shot the asshole, I did it.”

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