Ex-husband killed? Woman charged with murder at age 84

Ex-husband killed? Woman charged with murder at age 84

Hooked in the arm of her defender, the 84-year-old enters the courtroom of the constance district court. Her gray hair falls into her face in dark streaks; under her sweeping jacket, the elderly woman appears slender, almost fragile.

It is hard to imagine what the prosecution is accusing her of: she is said to have hit her ex-husband’s head with a metal butcher’s hammer. When the 73-year-old man was able to take the hammer from her and dial the emergency number, the accused fetched gasoline, doused him with it and rounded him up.

The man died in agony, the prosecutor said. The act was unconscionable and showed a ruthless spirit. Because parts of the house also caught fire, the woman is accused of arson as well as murder.

During the search, the firefighters found the man’s body. One of the firefighters described the sight as a "gruesome sight". About the accused, several firefighters said that she did not react when spoken to and did not appear unhappy. According to a firefighter, she even looked "slightly satisfied".

The defense requested a suspension of the trial: due to health problems of the defendant it was not possible to prepare the trial. The woman had significant visual and hearing impairments that often made communication impossible. To make matters worse, the lawyer and client had to communicate through a partition because of the corona pandemic. Since the 84-year-old had no hearing aid at all at the beginning and later only a limited one, she often did not understand questions.

The psychiatric expert confirmed the physical impairments of the accused. "She is naturally an old woman", he said. She suffers from a pronounced hardness of hearing. In addition, there was a circulatory disorder of the brain and an eye disease that can lead to blindness. However, despite the restrictions, she is basically fit to stand trial. She was neither confused nor disoriented. You can’t have a very long trial, though, you have to take the defendant into consideration, the expert said.

The prosecutor did not give any information about the motive at the start of the trial. According to earlier information, the investigators suspected the motive to be the life situation of the former couple. The 73-year-old had let the woman continue to live with him despite a long-ago separation. In the end he decided to sell the house and look for a new relationship.

The accused has not yet been questioned about the crime. The court decided to decide on the suspension request at a later date. The trial is scheduled to last four days. A verdict is expected in mid august.

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