The trial of a man suspected of stabbing a woman in the neck in front of her two-year-old son after attempting to rape her is set to start more than 31 years later thanks to fresh DNA evidence.
Police investigators and public prosecutors in the German capital of Berlin finally have enough evidence to take the 60-year-old suspect only identified as Klaus R. to court 11,562 days after he allegedly killed 30-year-old Annegret W.
Court spokeswoman Lisa Jani said: “He is being accused of murder to conceal.”
Modern DNA techniques helped bring the case to trial and bizarrely the suspect’s brother
was the first ever killer in German history to be convicted by DNA evidence.
Annegret W. was killed in September 1987 in front of her then two-year-old son Christian, who will be a joint plaintiff during the trial.
According to prosecutors, Klaus R., then 29 years old, killed Annegret in her flat in Berlin’s Neukoelln borough by strangling her and stabbing her five times in her neck after she put up resistance when he tried to rape her.
The prosecutors assume that Christian was there when his stay-at-home mother was killed. He reportedly took the knife from his mother’s neck and put it in the kitchen sink, only to lay down next to his mother’s body in her bed.
At the time Christian told the cops during an interrogation that a man had stabbed his mother.
He said: “There was a ding-dong. A man put a knife in the neck.”
Christian told the cops at the time that the perpetrator was a man named “Uncle Degake” – although investigators never had an idea whom he meant with it.
The police never managed to find the perpetrator and investigations were halted on 4th March 1991.
However, in 2015 the case was reopened by a cold case team to check whether modern techniques might lead to a breakthrough.
Last year, investigators got a match when DNA found at the crime scene matched with Klaus R., who works as a painter and is currently locked up in investigative custody.
Klaus R. said he has barely any memories of those days in the 1980s.
He said: “Unfortunately, I cannot comment on what happened then.”
Klaus R. does have a long criminal record as he was previously convicted of a group rape, GBH, deprivation of liberty, theft, predatory extortion and robbery.
The prosecutor’s office has three documented cases in which he used violence against women.
Bizarrely, Klaus R.’s brother Hans-Joachim R. was the first ever killer in German history to be convicted by DNA evidence.
He was sentenced to life after raping and killing 21-year-old Claudia Mrosek in 1988, with the DNA from his sperm being the key evidence which put him behind bars.
Hans-Joachim R. died in prison in March 2013 of cancer.
The trial of Klaus R. is set to start on 14th May.