16 January 2014

First witnesses regarding the murder of a police officer in Heilbronn

Today the court heard the first witnesses regarding the NSU attack of 25 April 2007 in Heilbronn in which police officer Michèle Kiesewetter was killed and her colleague Martin Arnold was severely injured.

This is the last known murder committed by the NSU and throws up many questions. Until today, it is not clear why the NSU changed its strategy of killing small business owners of foreign origin. It is also unclear whether these two were specifically chosen as victims or whether the killers simply targeted police officers and only happened to shoot these two officers. After all, Michèle Kiesewetter grew up in the same region as the NSU members and presumably knew them at least at some remove. On the other hand, it was mostly by chance and hardly foreseeable that these two would be on break at the place and time the attack took place. The theory of the indictment is that these two were not personally targeted.

The witness summonses so far seems to show the court interested only in that testimony which is needed for a conviction according to the indictment. Such conviction should prove easy in this case, easier than in the other cases: the pistols of both victims and other items stolen from them were found with the NSU, as were pants of Böhnhardt’s with blood from both victims, and finally the NSU videos contain a claim of responsibility for thus murder. It will be up to the court to decide whether it is only interested in a conviction or also in an actual elucidation of the facts.

Today’s witnesses reported on the crime scene and the situation in which the two victims were found. Martin Arnold, who had been very severely injured, reported on the long-term effects of his head wound. He also reported on the events of the day until several minutes before the attack. He does not remember the attack itself, even being questioned under hypnosis did not help bring back memories.

At the end of the trial day, the Schultze defence joined the motion by victim’s counsel Alexander Hoffmann which had led to disputes with the federal prosecution this week. The interest in Wohlleben’s dealings with guns and tools for car theft is rising.