A German court on Monday sentenced Stephan Balliet to life imprisonment after his 2019 deadly attack on a synagogue and surrounding areas in the city of Halle.
The far-right extremist killed two people after trying to shoot his way into a synagogue on October 9, 2019, considered to be one of the worst anti-Semetic assaults in Germany’s post-war history, the Associated Press reported.
The 29-year old Balliet has received the maximum sentence for the crime he committed on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, five months after his trial started in July.
He was found guilty of two counts of murders and more than 60 counts of attempted murder at the end of the 26-day trial.
In his trial, Balliet admitted to intending to kill the 51 people inside the synagogue but was unable to open the building’s heavy doors.
In frustration, the German shot and killed a 40-year-old woman in the street outside and a 20-year-old man at a nearby kebab shop eating his lunch, and wounded several others.
Deutsche Welle meanwhile quoted Judge Ursula Mertens noting the particular severity of the crimes, repeatedly the acts as “cowardly” and “cruel.”
Mertens described the Balliet as a loner who lived in his childhood bedroom at the age of 27, soaking up “crude conspiracy theories” on the internet and building weapons. She said it was obvious no one had tried to disabuse him of his extremist worldview.
The defendant remained mostly impassive as the judge read out her reasoning, which lasted almost three hours, though he occasionally grinned and rolled his eyes.
Upon the conclusion of the judge’s statement, Balliet threw a file of papers, which he had apparently rolled up in the final few minutes, at the co-plaintiffs. He ended up being dragged from his chair and pulled out of the courtroom by three guards.
The trial included some 45 co-plaintiffs, mostly survivors or their relatives, many of whom were present for Monday’s sentencing.
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