A Styrian innkeeper was sentenced on Friday to two years in prison, eight months of which were unconditional, for severe coercion and grossly negligent bodily harm. He allegedly attacked a man with a kitchen knife in December 2021. Another guest was able to intervene, but was stabbed in the stomach. The lay judges decided on the first part on Friday, the second part was already discussed last year.
The first legal action took place in June of the previous year. The jury then ruled that the first attack – in which no one was injured – was attempted murder. The second part with the stab to the stomach was considered grossly negligent bodily harm and the landlord was initially sentenced to eight years in prison. The conviction in the stomach stab case became final, but the possible attempted murder had to be tried again on Friday due to a formal error.
A random story in drunkenness
“It was all a random story,” prosecutor Daniel Weinberger said. It was clear from the start that alcohol played a role. What was unusual was the fact that the innkeeper actually had no connection to the men he targeted. The prosecution saw the motive as an insult that harked back to a waitress who rejected the suspect months ago. She had then been a guest in the company of one of the two men.
The suspect is said to have said the words “Den stich i ab” and then attacked the men standing in the courtyard of a bar with a butcher knife. He raised the knife and, according to the prosecutor, wanted to stab one guest in the back, which the second managed to prevent. But he was injured.
Now head of the prison kitchen
Defense attorney Gunther Ledolter claimed his client merely wanted to frighten the men with the knife and “wave it”. The woman plays a very subordinate role, the motif is, according to him, “constructed”. He also emphasized how efficient his client was. “He is now the head of the prison kitchen,” the lawyer explained.
No attempted murder
This time the jury decided differently than in the first trial: on Friday they interpreted the first attack ‘only’ as heavy coercion, not as attempted murder. Together with the grossly negligent bodily harm, this resulted in a two-year prison sentence, with eight months mandatory. The suspect has already served the unconditional part of the pre-trial detention and was therefore released immediately after the interrogation. He accepted the verdict, the prosecutor made no statement. The verdict is not final.
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