Former East German Officer Gets Three Years For Killing at Berlin Wall
BERLIN (AP) _ A former East German colonel was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday in a shooting death at the Berlin Wall 29 years ago.
Chief Judge Ralph Ehestaedt said in Berlin state court that Karl Bandemer fired with the intention of killing Willi Block though it was obvious Block could be easily apprehended.
The judge said it could not be proven without doubt that Bandemer, now 64, fired the fatal shot. East German guards under Bandemer’s command also shot at Block.
Block, 31, became entrapped in barbed wire while trying to flee East Berlin into West Berlin on Feb. 7, 1966.
According to testimony, Bandemer first emptied his pistol at Block, then had someone hand him a rifle and continued firing.
The trial was the 20th of East German officials and military charged in shooting deaths at the Berlin Wall and other border barriers. Suspended sentences have been given to most of the lower-ranking guards. Convicted officers and officials have been sent to prison.
Investigators say 584 people died trying to escape East Germany, founded in 1949. The last death was in February 1989, nine months before the Berlin Wall opened. Germany unified in October 1990.