The small, slender man on the dock in front of the jury chamber almost caused a catastrophe about a year ago in the middle of limburg in hesse.
The fact that no one died when he drove a hijacked truck against several vehicles "was an unusually fortunate coincidence," as the presiding judge expressed it on friday.
The syrian man now faces nine years in prison and a detention center, mainly for attempted murder in a state of reduced culpability. That is considerably more than the prosecutor and the defense demanded. The jury found two elements of murder: homicidal intent and the use of a dangerous instrument.
This refers to the truck that the 33-year-old man drove on 7. October 2019 had hijacked in the middle of holiday traffic. Intoxicated by a joint and deeply frustrated by his circumstances – no job, no money, his girlfriend had broken up with him – the man, who lives in langen in south hesse, tore open the driver’s door of a 17.5-tonners parked at a red light. He dragged the driver out and accelerated.
In the meantime the traffic light showed green, he steered the truck around the corner, there were several vehicles at another traffic light. Without braking, he drove towards them at a speed of 44 km/h, hitting two cars and a small truck. In a chain reaction, more vehicles were pushed on top of each other. 18 people were injured – as it later turned out, only slightly.
But the comparatively harmless consequences were not yet known shortly after the fact. At first there was talk of seriously injured, the fear of a possible terrorist attack was going around. "There is no terrorist motive," the judge emphasized in his ruling. But the question of why was not easy for the court to answer.
The accused had said nothing throughout the investigation, only breaking his silence at the trial. His statement was not very insightful; he referred to memory lucidness, traumatic experiences in his home country and an extremely strong effect of joints smoked shortly beforehand. "Damn drugs," he said in court, even in his last opportunity to say something before the sentencing.
The judges were also sure that drugs played a role in the crime. "He was uninhibited by this," the chairman said. And that’s why the idea he had been toying with all day – to hijack a truck and cause a sensational accident – he had decided to put into practice.
Earlier that day, he had been playing with a truck simulator on his cell phone. With the act he wanted to draw attention to himself and escape his life situation, said the judge. "Those who behave in this way do not care if anyone dies or is injured."