An American man has been charged with murder and other crimes for attacking two American women and pushing them into a ravine near Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany in June, fatally injuring one of them, prosecutors said Thursday .
The charges against the 31-year-old suspect, whose name was not published in line with German data protection regulations, were filed with the Kempten regional court, which must decide whether and when the case will be forwarded for trial.
He is charged with murder, rape resulting in death, attempted murder and possession of child pornography. The maximum penalty for murder charges in Germany is life imprisonment.
The attack occurred on June 14 near the Marienbrücke, a bridge over a gorge near the castle that offers a famous view of Neuschwanstein, one of Germany’s most famous tourist attractions.
According to prosecutors, the suspect met the two female tourists, ages 21 and 22, by chance on a hiking trail and lured them off the trail by saying he could show them a secret viewing spot, CBS News previously reported. Prosecutors said in a statement that he apparently first forced the younger woman to the ground and tried to undress her.
Neuschwanstein Castle. Frank Rumpenhorst/Picture Alliance via Getty Images
When the elderly woman tried to help her, a scuffle broke out and the suspect allegedly pushed her down a steep slope. She fell approximately 165 feet and suffered a head injury, bruises and abrasions, but survived.
The suspect then strangled the younger woman unconscious and raped her, according to prosecutors, before pushing her down the slope as well. She died.
Prosecutors said they seized a laptop and cellphones belonging to the suspect that contained child sexual abuse material.
Authorities say the women did not know the man before they met near Neuschwanstein. The suspect was arrested shortly after the attack. At that time, the police told the press that a “witness tip in the immediate vicinity of the crime” had led to his arrest. Police reportedly received dozens of photos and videos on a website to help them gather tips.
Eric Abneri, a man who visited the castle on a trip from New York, recorded video of the suspect’s arrest. He said the man had some injuries at the time of his arrest.
“His face and also his neck were covered in deep red claw marks,” Abneri told CBS News. “There was clearly a struggle and he just had a frown on his face. He did not say anything. He looked kind of upset.”
Neuschwanstein, located near the Austrian border, is the most famous of the castles built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century and a magnet for tourists from all over the world. It was the inspiration for the design of the castle in Disney’s Cinderella.
Source : www.cbsnews.com