German Synagogue Shooter Suspect Goes on Trial

MAGDEBURG, Germany—A 28-year-old man accused of murdering two people after opening fire on a synagogue in eastern Germany on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur last year was led into a courtroom by armed police for the start of his trial on Tuesday.

Stephan Balliet is accused of murder on two counts plus attempted murder and incitement. If convicted, he faces a life sentence.

Prosecutors say he has confessed to the crimes. He has not yet responded in court to the charges.

Stephan Balliet
Stephan Balliet
Stephan Balliet, who is accused of shooting two people after an attempt to storm a synagogue in Halle, arrives into the courtroom for the start of his trial, at the district court in Magdeburg, Germany July 21, 2020. (Ronny Hartmann/Pool via Reuters)

Wearing a coronavirus face mask, Stephan Balliet took his seat in the court room in handcuffs and looked around the room. The start of the trial was delayed by two hours due to strict security measures.

The gunman opened fire at the synagogue in the eastern city of Halle last October, and prosecutors have said he aimed to kill as many as possible of the more than 50 worshippers inside.

Stephan Balliet and his lawyer Hans-Dieter Weber
Stephan Balliet and his lawyer Hans-Dieter Weber
Stephan Balliet, accused of shooting two people after an attempt to storm a synagogue in Halle, and his lawyer Hans-Dieter Weber wait for the start of the trial at a local court in Magdeburg, Germany, July 21, 2020. In the background left is presiding Judge Ursula Mertens. (Hendrik Schmidt/Pool via Reuters)

However, after failing to get into the building, he went on a rampage outside, fatally shooting a woman passerby and a man inside a kebab shop. The attacker live-streamed his attack.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the killer must face the full force of the law and that the Halle attack showed how right-wing extremists had bRead More – Source