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German nurse jailed for life over "mercy killings"

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German nurse jailed for life over "mercy killings"


A German nurse has been jailed for life for killing 28 patients for whom he said he felt compassion. A court in the Bavarian town of Kempten convicted Stephan Letter of 12 counts of murder, 15 counts of manslaughter and one of mercy killing. Most of the victims were elderly. The killings took place between January 2003 and the summer of 2004 when he was arrested.

The 28-year old admitted injecting the patients with a lethal mixture of tranquilisers and muscle relaxant at the Sonthofen clinic where he worked. But he denied charges he had acted with malice. The patients’ relatives have welcomed the ruling.

“It’s important to us they were not considered to be mercy killings,” said one woman, “because he did not act out of pity, he was convicted of murder and justice has been done.” More than 80 deaths at the clinic were deemed suspicious, but many of the bodies have been incinerated preventing any further investigation. It is being considered one of the the worst cases of serial killing in Germany.

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