On 12 March, German media outlet Welt reported the latest news on the trial of Hussein K., who raped and murdered the 19-year-old medical student Maria L., in October 2016. 

On the sixth day of trial, on 12 October 2017, the court heard testimony by the Iranian Malik F. Malik F. and Hussein K. stayed together for a few months, first in residential group for underage refugees in Münstertäler, where Hussein K. claimed he was 24 years old, later near the villa of the S. family in Ebnet. According to Malik F., Hussein K. kept mostly to himself, and was rarely at home. He used drugs, and alcohol to excess.

This testimony came after the chief of the investigative team had testified that Hussein K. had committed similar crimes before. A fellow inmate claimed that Hussein K. told him he had raped a 12-year-old girl in Iran, when he was himself 14 years old. That the families had settled out of court, but that his father had beaten him severely. The inmate, whom the police deem reliable because of certain details in his story, also said that Hussein K. had tried to rape an Asian woman the same night he raped Maria L. Although the police were able to trace the woman, she could not remember Hussein K.

The police further reconstructed Hussein K.’s night: he had been out with three of his friends until about 23:00, when they refused to accompany him to a gaybar. There, Hussein K. stayed to 01:14, reportedly offering his sexual services to another patron in exchange for money. The patron refused, saying Hussein K. lowered his price, but no deal was struck. In the bar, Hussein K. accosted yet another woman, who said she had to push him away, and felt threatened. From the bar, Hussein K. is said to have made his way to the scene of the crime, where he struck at around 03:00.

The body of Maria L. was found on Sunday morning 16 October 2016 at 8:20 by a jogger. As the local Badische Zeitung writes in one of its many articles on the case, she was raped where her body was found. The police quickly found that neither drugs, nor alcohol played any role. The fact that her money and phone were left at the scene of the crime also excluded theft.

Questions remained as to the precise actions leading to Maria L.’s death. The cause of death was quickly determined to be drowning: she was found in a little stream called Dreisam. Hussein K., who has since admitted to the rape, also admitted to having strangled her, until she lost consciousness. His capture has been the result of an extensive police investigation, including offering a €35.000 reward and research into DNA traces.

The defence counsel appointed to him as public defender, Sebastian Glathe, asked that the court enrolled his client therapy. During his plea, Glathe said that Hussein K. should be given help and support in jail. Glathe refrained from concrete suggestions with regard to jail time.

Preventive custody was sought by both the prosecutor as well as the counsel for the victim (Nebenklage), but rejected by the court, which believed the judicial ground was lacking. If the court had allowed it, it would have precluded early release after 15 years in jail. The court did follow Nebenklage-counsel Bernhard Kramer when he demanded Hussein K. be tried as an adult, claiming the accused is at least 22 years old. The court accepted his evidence. As Welt reports, this means Hussein K. will not be judged according to juvenile criminal law, which usually dictates lower sentences.