Just came back to this incident. The three surviving perpetrators have now been sentenced. A 62-year-old got the book thrown at him two weeks ago with not just five years prison time, but subsequent rehab and security detention which can theoretically be indefinite; mostly because he had already been given two years eleven months for robbing the Kaiserslautern public college in 2016, and committed the new act soon after getting out on probation. The facts that he confessed, has a heart condition, asthma, diabetes, and a drug habit don't seem to have had a mitigating impact.
His 52-year-old brother and a 33-year-old French accomplice had been given four and four-and-a-half years earlier already. Seems the trio along with the third brother (43) who deceased after being stabbed by the homeowner were after a safe, which they had heard contained money and gold. They brought a rusty blank-firing revolver and zip ties for the occasion. The stabbing was previously found to have been in self-defense, in part because DNA of the homeowner's wife on the dead perpetrator's glove matched his story that he stabbed the latter in the back while he was smothering her.
Witnesses: Movers’ talk of valuables at Landstuhl home might have prompted fatal burglary attempt
By KARIN ZEITVOGEL | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: September 3, 2019
ZWEIBRUECKEN, Germany — A moving company worker posted on Facebook and told colleagues that an American family had a safe filled with gold coins and gold-plated roses, witnesses said Tuesday at a trial for two men charged in the violent burglary of the Americans’ residence.
The moving company worker, S.S., who, under German law, may be referred to only by his initials, told the court he helped move a safe that “must have weighed [880 pounds] and needed six or seven men to carry it into the house.”
“The American man counted every single gold-plated rose to make sure they were all there,” said the witness, who no longer works at the moving company.
The American family’s home was the scene of a violent burglary in February in which one burglar was stabbed fatally by the father, who is a Defense Department civilian and former Air Force major.
Asked by the judge how someone not involved in the move — including the four men who attempted to burglarize the residence on a Sunday evening in February — might have learned of the Americans’ high-value collection, S.S. said he talked about it with colleagues during a cigarette break at the moving company.
Another witness who worked for the same company said S.S. had posted about the collection on Facebook.
Describing how information about the safe might have spread, that worker said he was in a relationship with a woman who often received visits from H.M., the burglar killed by the American father during the break-in.
“My girlfriend’s mother used to be in a relationship with H.M. and he came over often, looking for his ex,” the witness said. “H.M. may have heard me talking with my girlfriend about a big job I was working on.”
The last time H.M. visited was two days before the home invasion, he said.
The head of the police team that investigated the crime said news of the safe spread quickly among moving company workers.
The police immediately suspected that a moving company employee might have tipped off the burglars about the family’s gold collection, but their investigation only produced useful leads when a worker came forward and was granted immunity in exchange for information.
The movers’ involvement in the break-in has prompted Americans to post their concerns in local social media groups.
About 50,000 Defense Department personnel and their families live in the Kaiserslautern area, which includes Ramstein Air Base, and most of them use military-contracted, locally based movers.
Suspects in violent invasion of American family’s Landstuhl home had loaded gun, court is told
Published: October 1, 2019
ZWEIBRUECKEN, Germany — A judge on Monday brought more serious charges against one of the men accused of violently attempting to burglarize the Landstuhl home of an American family in February after learning that he and his suspected accomplices had a loaded gun and zip ties with them.
The suspect, a 61-year-old man with a long criminal record, told a psychiatrist who conducted a mental health assessment of him that he had left the gun in the vehicle the four men drove to the Americans’ home on an evening in February because he knew that taking the weapon inside the house would mean they would face more serious charges if they were caught, the court was told.
What he didn’t know was that possessing zip ties at a crime scene also is considered by German courts to indicate intent to commit a felony with violence.
One suspect was killed by the American father, who stabbed him during the attempted burglary. A German court has ruled that the American, a former Air Force major who moved to Germany with his family to work as a Defense Department civilian, acted in self-defense and threw out a lawsuit brought against him by two of the other suspects, both brothers of the deceased.
The judge elevated the charges against the suspect who testified Monday, who, under German law, can be referred to in news articles only by his initials, A.M., from attempted burglary to aggravated robbery. She is expected to do the same for the two other suspects, who are due to appear in court on Wednesday.
If convicted of the more serious charge, the three could face a minimum of three years and up to 15 years in prison.
Because of his long criminal record, A.M. also is expected to be placed under preventive detention if convicted, which means he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Preventive detention allows a convicted criminal’s prison sentence to be extended indefinitely.
A.M. is being tried separately from the other two surviving suspects — his brother J.M., 52, and a 33-year-old French national who grew up in Germany, J.R. They testified earlier that they did not expect to find anyone at home when they went to the Americans’ house with intent to “take things.”
Serial criminal who tried to burglarize Americans’ Landstuhl home sent to prison
By KARIN ZEITVOGEL | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: December 19, 2019
ZWEIBRUECKEN, Germany — The last of four men who tried to force their way into an American family’s home in Landstuhl to rob them was sentenced Thursday under a strict German law that could see him spend the rest of his life in prison.
“What you did put the (American) family in grave danger,” Judge Susanna Thomas said after sentencing August Mettbach, 62, to five years in prison with concurrent drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. At the end of his prison term, Mettbach will be placed under preventive detention, or “Sicherungsverwahrung,” a strict regimen that requires convicted criminals to be regularly assessed to determine if they are still a menace to society.
“You spent so many years in jail but always returned to crime after being released,” the judge said. “Everyone can decide to change the path they’re on in life but you always chose to return to crime. “
Mettbach, who has spent half his life in prison, presented “a high risk for committing more violent crime in the future,” Dr. Sergiy Davydenko, head of the forensic psychiatry and psychotherapy department at the University Medical Center Mainz, told the court days earlier.
Because of his long criminal record, Mettbach had been tried separately from two other men, who earlier this month were sent to prison for 4 1/2 and five years in connection with the violent attempted burglary.
Preventive detention lasts on average 25 years, said Johannes Berg, lead counsel to the American family.
Given Mettbach’s poor state of health — he has a heart condition, asthma, a lung disorder and hepatitis C, the court was told — he is likely to spend the rest of his life in detention, Berg said.
Along with two of his brothers and a fourth man, Mettbach went to the Americans’ house in Landstuhl on an evening in February with duct tape, zip ties and a loaded air gun, after hearing from moving company workers that the family had high-value objects in a safe, the court heard in earlier hearings.
The American father fought back when the men tried to force their way into the home and stopped three of them. But one of Mettbach’s brothers forced his way through the door and ran upstairs, where he assaulted the American mother.
After slamming the door on Mettbach and the two others, the father, a former Air Force major now working as a civilian for the military, grabbed a kitchen knife and ran upstairs, where Heinz Mettbach was holding his hand over the mouth of the American mother to try to silence her.
The marks around the mother’s mouth indicated that the force the suspect was applying could have led to her suffocating, medical experts told the court.
Two of the family’s young children watched everything from a hiding place, the court was told in an earlier hearing.
The father scuffled with Heinz before chasing him down the stairs and out of the house. During the scuffle, the home invader was stabbed. He died shortly afterward of his wounds.
August Mettbach complained during one of his sessions with Davydenko that he wasn’t able to sleep “because ‘when I close my eyes, I still have the image in my head of my brother bleeding to death in the car,’” the psychiatrist said.
A German court ruled in May that the American father acted in self-defense and did not charge him.
Edited by BansheeOne, 03 January 2020 - 0629 AM.