Kulmbach ex-ob defends notorious police murderer

Kulmbach ex-OB defends notorious police murderer

"Augsburg, 21. February 1902. The execution of kneibl took place this morning at 7 a.m. The whole process was over in one and a half minutes. Kneibl behaved calmly. There was cloudy frosty weather." the short report is brought to you by the "kulmbacher nachrichten" the next day. About the reaction of the population one finds nothing in the newspaper also on the following days.

Expressions of sympathy in kulmbach

Max hundt, however, states bluntly in his chronicle of the city of kulmbach: "the execution of the well-known robber kneibl, who had become a national hero, triggered rallies of sympathy in kulmbach as well."

Mathias kneibl is the man of the little people. His shrewdness and shrewdness, with which he demonstrates the authorities for a long time, appeals to them. Many workers, artisans, small farmers, day laborers are seething with discontent about their social situation and the disadvantages caused by the census voting system.

It is exacerbated by a severe economic crisis at the turn of the century. The kulmbachers are feeling the pinch from the breweries’ drop in sales and the brewers’ and maltsters’ wage struggles. Hundreds of poor and orphaned children live in this city of 9,000 inhabitants, and only the many foundations and charitable organizations can provide them with some support.

Always up-to-date reports

There’s another reason why the people of kulmbach have been watching the jury trial from 14. to 19. November 1901 in augsburg: mathias kneibl, who is on trial for two murders, attempted manslaughter, aggravated robbery and robbery by extortion, is defended by former mayor walter von pannwitz. After leaving kulmbach in 1891, he became the most prominent criminal defense lawyer in bavaria.

Because of the explosive nature of the issue, the "kulmbacher nachrichten" sends our own reporter to augsburg. Daily telegraphs detailed reports to the editorial office. At the beginning, the reader learns about the crowds of people lining the path from the prison to the palace of justice and thronging the forecourt. When the verdict was reached on the fifth day of the trial in the evening, the reporter immediately picked up the phone so that the verdict of the twelve jurors could be set in time for the next day: "court sentenced kneibl to death".

Caught in the Devil’s Circle

From the point of view of today’s criminology, Kneibl is a case of severe damage to the milieu and failure to resocialize. From childhood on, he was caught up in the vicious circle of poverty, acquisitive crime, social ostracism and violence. His parents first tried to make ends meet with an inn in Unterweikertshofen in the Dachau hinterland, and later with the Schachermuhle near Sulzemoos, but the income was not enough.

The "Kneibl boys were treated as socks by the pastor and teacher. Mathias was 17 when his mother was sent to prison for three months for the theft of church silver in the pilgrimage church of herrgottsruh. At the same time, his father died in the millstream while fleeing from the police. Kneibl and his brother Alois committed burglary and poaching, which earned him six years in prison.

Armed raids

His attempt to learn the carpenter’s trade in nubdorf after his release in 1899 failed. He was called a "breeder" by his fellow journeymen stampeded, spied on by the local police. Although his master describes him as "industrious and skilful", he is a "good man" he was forced to dismiss him after seven months. The result: a series of further armed raids.

In november 1900, a momentous incident occurs near irchenbrunn. Kneibl shot wildly from his hiding place, a farmhouse. One policeman bled to death at the front door, another died in hospital after a leg amputation.

The "wicked double murderer From then on, he is the most wanted criminal in the kingdom. But although the authorities put hundreds of police on his trail and offer a reward of 1,000 marks, he remains undiscovered for months because the local population gives him shelter. Only on 5. March 1901 his hiding place in the auermacher estate near egenhofen is discovered – his own cousin, living in abject poverty, has betrayed him for the ransom money. 150 men are assembled and the homestead is under constant fire.

The 25-year-old is seriously injured by hits to the abdomen, upper arm and wrist and undergoes emergency surgery at the munich surgical clinic. Miserably patched up, the murder trial can be opened eight months later with a huge contingent of 122 witnesses.

Fighting for Kneibl’s head

In the heated atmosphere and under the pressure of the authorities’ expectations, von pannwitz proves to be an excellent criminal defense lawyer. He tries to refute the accusation of murder by denying the intention to kill to the gendarmes brandmaier and schneidler, as the defendant himself does again and again. For him, it is aggravated assault resulting in death, that is, manslaughter. Kneibl would be spared the scaffold, he would get away with 15 years in the penitentiary.

To prove that his moral conscience was intact at the core, the star defender had a letter from Kneibl from 1895 read out, in which he describes policemen as "people and family fathers like you and me . Social romanticism is far from the mind of von pannwitz, who argues coolly. By no means does he want to transfigure the defendant into a bavarian robin hood. On the contrary: he mocks the "crazy women who wrote him the most rapturous love letters while he was still in prison".

Plea for clemency rejected

He is unable to reach the twelve jurors, all of whom are well-to-do citizens. they follow the prosecutor’s plea: "kneibl must be eradicated from human society." after the death sentence, pannwitz tries to get the proceedings reopened before the reichsgericht leipzig (reichsgericht leipzig). Without success.

He then appeals for clemency to prince regent luitpold, as does the presiding judge, anton rebholz, and numerous citizens. The prince regent, often stylized by historians loyal to the king as a benevolent senior and father of the nation, brusquely rejects the request. Only hours later, executioner franz xaver reichhart lets the guillotine fly in the courtyard of augsburg prison.

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