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Justice Centre in Bochum

Photo: Guido Kirchner / dpa

In the trial for the shooting of a synagogue in Bochum, the regional court of the North Rhine-Westphalian city has sentenced the defendant to imprisonment. The 37-year-old must go to prison for three years and ten months, as a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday. Both the prosecution and the defense waived their right to appeal.

In addition to the attack on the Jewish house of worship, the defendant was also convicted of attempted aggravated arson and causing an explosive explosion. He was also convicted of drug possession. The prosecution had requested a four-year prison sentence in the case. The defense pleaded for three and a half years in prison.

The man was on trial for several charges. According to the indictment, he shot at the synagogue in Bochum in April 2021. A pane of glass above the entrance was hit, creating a hole. The public prosecutor's office assumed that the man had a right-wing extremist attitude.

Several arson attacks

As early as May 2017, he is said to have thrown a burning Molotov cocktail against a window of a Bochum kindergarten in order to set a fire. The attempt failed. In February 2018, he allegedly threw another burning Molotov cocktail, this time against the window of an apartment building. The apartment behind it belonged to a woman living in Poland. This attempt also failed, the bottle burned out on the balcony. He is also said to have set fire to a parked car in December 2022. One tire caught fire, but went out again.

During a search of the apartment last May, more than 200 grams of marijuana were found, as well as numerous knives and other weapons. The 37-year-old is said to have grown some of the drugs himself.

The judges could not determine with certainty in the verdict that the defendant committed the acts due to a right-wing extremist attitude. The Bochum native had admitted to being fascinated by the Nazi era. However, the attack on the synagogue was not motivated by anti-Semitism, but was a coincidence, it said. The defendant was convicted, among other things, by DNA traces, which could be secured on two projectiles found at the crime scene.