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German acquitted of murder of 87-year-old woman after 13 years in prison

Manfred Genditzki had always denied murdering the woman during a long legal battle.

Berlin, Germany:

A German court on Friday exonerated a former caretaker who had spent more than 13 years in prison for the alleged murder of an elderly woman found in a bathtub.

Manfred Genditzki had been sentenced to life for allegedly killing an 87-year-old tenant in the building where he worked in 2008 by hitting her on the head during an argument and then drowning her.

Genditzki had always denied murdering the woman during a lengthy legal battle.

In a court scandal that made national headlines, judges at the Munich Regional Court ruled that Genditzki had been wrongfully convicted and ordered compensation of nearly 369,000 euros ($402,000).

“It was not murder, he is acquitted and therefore innocent,” a court spokesperson said, referring to new evidence suggesting the death was accidental.

Local media reported that Genditzki remained impassive during the reading of the verdict while many of his supporters wept openly in the courtroom.

Genditzki, now 63, who had worked in a large residential complex in the southern town of Rottach-Egern, had previously successfully challenged his conviction in federal court, but was found guilty again in a court of Munich in 2012.

– ‘A tragedy’ –

In a third lawsuit based on advances in forensics, her lawyer Regina Rick was able to bring new evidence showing that the temperature of the water in the bathtub where the woman was found indicated a much different time of death than originally presumed.

A second scientific report presented to the court used a computer simulation to demonstrate that his death was likely the result of an accident.

Rick secured his client’s bail last August based on that evidence, given growing doubts about his guilt and Genditzki’s clean criminal record.

After more than 13 years in police custody, he returned to his family and started working as a driver in a cheese factory while the high court granted him a new trial.

Friday’s acquittal, which even the prosecution ultimately advocated, “came on the basis of expert reports using the most modern methods that were not available at the time of previous convictions,” the spokesperson said. of the court.

After spending 4,915 days wrongfully imprisoned during which he failed to help raise his children or attend the birth of his grandchildren, Genditzki is now exonerated, he said.

“It is a tragedy that can hardly be expressed in words,” he added.

The court ordered Genditzki to receive 75 euros for each day spent in prison, or just over 368,000 euros. He may also be able to claim additional damages for lost earnings.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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