Berlin (AFP) – A far-right extremist was found guilty in Germany on Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for murdering a regional politician in a horrific murder that shocked the country.
In its ruling against Stefan Ernst, 47, the Frankfurt State Court referred to the “particular gravity” of the crime, which means that he will likely not qualify for release after 15 years as is usual under German law, the dpa news agency reported.
During his trial, Ernst admitted to killing Walter Lubcke, a member of the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who led the regional administration in the Kassel region in central Germany, on June 1, 2019.
Luebcke was targeted because he was vocal in favor of helping refugees. Prosecutors said that Ernst had attended an event in 2015 where the politician defended the German government’s decision to allow hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers to enter the country.
Ernst shot Luebcke on the politician’s balcony and died hours later.
After the Lübeck killing and other attacks that year, the German government warned that far-right extremism posed a major security threat in the country.
One of the accomplices, who prosecutors claimed was with Ernst at the crime scene, was identified only as Markus H. due to German privacy laws, was convicted of gun violations and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
He had been charged with complicity in a murder, but his lawyer argued that he was not involved and that he was only convicted of the lesser charge.