A 26-year-old confessed to a murder charge on Monday in front of a jury in Salzburg. On March 21, 2021, the Serb killed his 22-year-old wife in her apartment in the city of Salzburg with eight knife stabs, while the two small children together were closing in the next room. The motive was jealousy.
The suspect had only been convicted of violence against the woman a month before the offense and was forbidden from contacting her.
Defender Michael Hofer spoke today of a “relationship and family drama”. The defendant did not gloss over anything in the previous proceedings. “Immediately after the crime, he turned himself in to the police and made a comprehensive and remorseful confession.”
The accused had become jealous and angry that evening when he visited his still-wife apparently with her consent. He read chat messages with another man on his wife’s mobile phone and discovered condoms in the apartment that were not his, signs from the presiding judge Ilona Schalwich-Mozes in calm words. “They have prepared a wedding for 600 people,” the man continued, although his wife told him that she wanted to withdraw the date of divorce.
He reacted nervously and asked his wife why she had lied for a month and pretended everything was normal. “She laughed in my face and said she would call the police so that I could be sent back to prison,” the defendant told the judge. He could not recognize an emotion during the interrogation.
“I regret what I did”
What followed was this horrific bloody act. “I’m sorry,” he admitted. “I regret what I did. I have a hard time talking about it.” He hit his wife several times in the face and, after she bit him on the finger, took a ceramic knife with a ten-centimeter blade from a drawer in the living room and stabbed her in the neck five times from behind. When she was on the floor, he took a kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade from the kitchen and stabbed her three more times in the chest area. When the judge asked why he stabbed the defenseless woman, he had no answer. The victim bled to death.
The 26-year-old stowed the body in the bed drawer of the couch and cleaned the knives. He then called a nanny on the pretext that his wife was not doing well, that she was in the hospital and that he was going to visit her, so that she could take care of the two girls, aged seven months and three years. In fact, he drove to the Central Station Police Station, looked there, and made a confession.
The accused has a relevant criminal record in Austria. He repeatedly threatened and physically attacked his wife from April 2018 to December 2020 and was therefore sentenced on February 24, 2021 at the Salzburg Regional Court for frequent violence to twelve months of partial imprisonment, of which two months were unconditional.
At that time, the court ordered the Serbs to refrain from any contact with his wife. The judgment at that time also included dangerous threats and attacks against relatives of the woman at a Christmas party in 2020. Since the convicted person was credited with custody from December 25th, he left prison on February 25th.
Like defense attorney Hofer today, relatives of the wife were against the marriage of the two, had culminated in prejudice. The woman’s ancestral family did not appear for the wedding at the time. When the family finally looked for another man for the woman, the matter escalated. “He is anything but an ice-cold, callous man. At that time he also made sure that the children were well looked after,” that the defense attorney tried to put the accused in a better light.
Prosecutor Jürgen Wiener warned the jury that the 26-year-old had threatened his wife several times that he would “slaughter” her. The man then put this announcement into practice. The fact that the woman allowed his visits despite the ban on contact and left him in the apartment in the Schallmoos district was “absolutely human” in view of the two children they shared. After the crime, the woman’s cell phone could no longer be found. The accused should have disposed of it, said the prosecutor.
Victim attorney Stefan Rieder from the Weißen Ring is demanding 100,000 euros in damages each for the two children and three other relatives. According to Rieder, the two daughters of the defendant are cared for by their maternal grandparents.
A judgment will most likely be pronounced today. If convicted of murder, the man faces ten to 20 years’ imprisonment or life imprisonment.