On the third day of the trial against the right-wing terrorist assassin from Halle / Saale, it becomes several times particularly uncomfortable for the accused. The lawyers of the co-plaintiffs question the right-wing extremist who wanted to cause a massacre in the synagogue on October 9, 2019 and shot two people.
The 28-year-old often tries to answer his anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia worldview in his answers. This is where Stephan B. appears to be the safest and faces the co-plaintiffs sitting opposite him. But the lawyers find pressure points that annoy him, sometimes he is really upset.
There is, for example, the co-plaintiff who quotes from investigation files stating that he directed a child pornography page. “You had a look there”, he said, he was actually looking for something else in the darknet. Before that, he said that no one wanted the authorities to know which pages to visit on the Internet.
The bald defendant is particularly struck when one speaks to him about possible people who know his mind. First, Stephan B. asserts that he “almost certainly” didn’t speak to anyone about his crude hatred, not even with the family. This statement fits what the security authorities in Saxony-Anhalt knew about the man before the attack: nothing.
Stephan B., a lone perpetrator, socially isolated, taciturn, he lived in his nursery and did not greet on the street. It is a little relief for the police and the protection of the constitution.
In fact, this Tuesday in the Magdeburg district court it becomes clear that B.’s hatred and danger were obvious before his attempted mass murder – at least in his environment. Several attorneys-at-law have confronted the assassin with statements he made in the years leading up to the crime.
The accused stammered from alcohol
It is the terrible, recurring sayings of the extreme right: “The shitty Jews are to blame for everything”, “Foreigner pack”, “Shit foreigner” and similar of his statements are held against him. “He hates all foreigners – especially Jews,” his sister said. Stephan B. does not deny the quotations, but they obviously unsettle him, he feels under pressure to justify himself. He stammered from alcohol and again and again from the fact that he probably “slipped out” a saying.
He was furious when a lawyer asked about his social contacts: who was Maximilian from Cottbus? Lara from Aschersleben? And Andrea from Halle, Viktoria from Aschersleben and Viktoria from Bernburg? “I won’t answer any further questions,” B. hurls the lawyer.
The defendant, who replies with a smirk “no comment” to the question of whether he is a Nazi, tries to raise the suspicions of his family. He never discussed political issues with them, he claims. In his youth he was given the “typical values of the FRG”, and as examples he added: “Be friendly” and “Treat others with respect”. He distinguishes himself from these values: “I have obviously developed others.” You can tell: he wants to protect his mother.
But then the presiding judge, Ursula Mertens, reads the letter that Stephan B’s mother wrote immediately after her son’s act before attempting suicide. It is six pages full of anger, despair – and anti-Semitism. “This state abandoned me and Stephan,” writes the mother, saying that she wanted to bring him back to life. “They” “destroyed” me, it says below. Then it becomes clear who Stephan B’s mother apparently meant. She made a connection to Jews: “You feel that Jews had a free hand.” And Stephan, her son, “wanted only one thing, the truth.”
Scraps of sentences – and a crossed out star of David
The letter addressed to her sister ends with snippets of sentences. “They lie,” it says once, “self-made prophecy” and “the Jews”. With a crossed out star of David.
Stephan B., who usually grins at answers, now looks scowled. The right-wing extremist tries to explain his statements that his mother was under the influence of medication.
However, a few days after the attack, she had already told journalists about sentences that contained anti-Semitic stereotypes.
With regard to Stephan B’s environment, many obvious questions remain unanswered on this day: Who was he playing his online games with, of which we were talking. Who gave him the book on handguns for his birthday when nobody supposedly knew about his dark fantasies? And how did his mother react when she showed her the legacy of the assassin who murdered more than 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019 because they were Muslims?
There may be answers on Wednesday. Because then the statements of Stephan B.’s parents are expected in the Magdeburg trial.