The fifteen-year-old, who is suspected of stabbing her three-year-old half-brother on Wednesday evening in Detmold, is being remanded. This was decided by a judge after the prosecution has applied for a warrant for murder against the juvenile. She explicitly did not deny the offense, the police said after the interrogations, but invoke memory gaps.
The student is alleged to have attacked the boy in a flat with a knife, he died of "multiple puncture wounds," according to the preliminary autopsy report. As a motive for the act, the investigators assume a "difficult family environment" and "a deep dislike of the half-brother".
Suspects detained from Detmold in Lemgo
After a twelve-hour flight, the 15-year-old was recognized by a passerby and arrested by policemen on Thursday in Lemgo, about ten kilometers from Detmold.
Minor suspects are in killing offenses (murder, manslaughter, killing on request) in Germany a major exception. This is shown by the look into the police crime statistics of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Of a total of 2,823 suspects, 173 were younger than 18 years old in the past year (around six percent), 13 of whom were children under the age of 14. The number has fluctuated in recent years, but has always been at a low level. A trend can not be deduced from the statistics.
|year||Tat-suspicious overall||Act suspects under 18 years||Percentage||only suspected children under 14 years|
Source: Police crime statistics 2012 to 2018
Teenagers or even children who become murderers often cause a great public response. Cases from the recent past show that:
- Last year, a ten-year-old in Berlin confessed to throwing a block of wood out of a 15-story skyscraper that killed an eight-year-old. The police determined because of the deliberate killing offense. (Read more about the case here.)
- Also in 2018, a 15-year-old killed a 14-year-old classmate in the capital with 23 knife wounds. He was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for murder. (Read more about the case here.)
- On the outskirts of the small town Bad Schmiedeberg in Saxony-Anhalt 2016, a 13-year-old slew a friend of the same age with a stone. (Read more about the case here.)
- In the district of Demmin (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), a 14-year-old shot his mother and seven-year-old half-sister in the family home in September 2001 – he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
These and similar cases are unanimous that underage perpetrators are treated differently by the judiciary than adults. Anyone who is not yet 14 at the time of the offense is generally not put on trial or put in jail. Children are not guilty according to the Criminal Code.
"It is then indeed initiated a preliminary investigation, as the police in principle, a fact has to clarify and investigate," said lawyer Tommy Kujus after the Berlin wooden block case the star, "However, the procedure is then forcibly discontinued by the prosecution, since there is no criminal offense, regardless of the offense involved or whether the child proceeded according to plan or particularly brutally."
At most, education might interfere with: "The measures that the Family Court can take vary from ordering them to seek state help or ensuring that they attend compulsory education, to removing parental authority," Kujus added at the time.
The maximum penalty in youth criminal law is ten years
The situation is different with juvenile suspects aged 14 and over, as in the current Detmolder case. She awaits a trial before the juvenile court. His judgments are not primarily for punishment, but for education. "The application of juvenile justice is primarily intended to counteract new offenses committed by a young person or adolescent," states the Juvenile Court Act. "She is 15. And for young people in criminal proceedings – no matter what they have done – is a special protection," said the spokesman for the Detmold prosecutor, Christopher Imig, with a view to the alleged perpetrator. The maximum penalty for murder in juvenile justice is ten years.
Juvenile justice is also applied to adults under the age of 21 if they are the same as a juvenile at the time of their "moral and mental development," the law says.
The discussion about lowering the punishable age from 14 to twelve years flares up again and again. In July, police commissioner Rainer Wendt and juvenile judge Andreas Müller argued in DISKUTHEK, the debate format of the star, about the topic:
(Embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe-n22xu7zk (/ embed)
Wendt had renewed his demand for a reduction of criminal responsibility, at least in serious crimes, while Müller wants to maintain the existing rules: "I have 14-year-old chubby bones in front of me, I know, they barely get what's happening in the hall then shall I condemn twelve-year-olds? "
Sources: Federal Criminal Police Office, Criminal Code, Juvenile Court Act, Police Headquarters Bielefeld, DPA news agency