Friday, March 20, 2009
Fritzl Gets Life In Psych Prison
Josef Fritzl was sentenced to life in a psychiatric ward Thursday for one of Austria's most notorious crimes: Locking his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years, fathering her seven children and letting one die in captivity as a newborn.
Fritzl, 73, sat calmly and bowed his head as a jury convicted him of all the charges against him — homicide, enslavement, rape, incest, forced imprisonment and coercion. After locking eyes with his lawyer, he waived his right to appeal, ending a case that has drawn revulsion worldwide.
Court spokesman Franz Cutka said Fritzl would eventually be taken to a secure psychiatric ward for mentally deranged criminals. Other court authorities said the exact facility had not been chosen yet.
Officials said Fritzl would not be eligible for parole for at least 15 years and judges and psychiatric experts would have to concur with any decision to free him.
Elisabeth, now 42, and her six surviving children, who range in age from 6 to 20, have spent months recovering in a psychiatric clinic and at a secret location. Prosecutors described her as a "broken" woman after enduring constant rapes — some in front of her children.
The homicide charge stemmed from the 1996 death in captivity of her infant son. Prosecutors contend the ailing newborn — a male twin called Michael — might have survived if Fritzl had arranged for medical care.
Police say DNA tests prove Fritzl is the biological father of all six surviving children, three of whom never saw daylight until the crime was exposed 11 months ago.
The three other children were brought upstairs to be raised by Fritzl and his wife, Rosemarie, who was led by Fritzl to believe they were abandoned by Elisabeth when she ran off as a teenager.
Mayer, his lawyer, never argued that Fritzl was innocent. At one point in Thursday's closing statement, he even admitted that Fritzl had raped his daughter 3,000 times.
Labels: Josef Fritzl
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