Three men charged in Germany over violent invasion of American family’s home
By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 12, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Three men who stormed into the Landstuhl home of an American family have been charged with attempted robbery in connection with the violent home invasion, which left a fourth assailant dead, German prosecutors said.
The Zweibruecken prosecutor’s office also charged the suspects with failing to provide assistance to the fourth home invader, who was fatally stabbed by the American father during the Feb. 10 break-in.
The suspects, who were charged Thursday, targeted the American family after an employee of a moving company said that the family had high-value items in the house, prosecutors said.
Two of the suspects have appealed a decision by the Zweibruecken prosecutor in May not to prosecute the American father, a U.S. Army civilian, for use of excessive force during the home invasion, said a statement received from the prosecutor’s office.
On the evening of Feb. 10, the American father was reading a bedtime story to his young children when the suspects rang the doorbell of the family’s house. When the former Air Force major opened the door, the masked burglars forced their way into the residence.
One of the home invaders managed to run upstairs, where he assaulted the American mother who was putting the family’s infant to sleep.
The 41-year-old father described in an interview with Stars and Stripes how he heard his wife screaming while he fought with the other three home invaders downstairs.
“She is screaming bloody murder, she’s screaming ‘my baby, my baby,’” he said. “The whole time I am swinging,” he said. “I am pounding on anybody and everything that comes near me. I just fought like hell. I don’t know how I got the three guys back out the door.”
The father then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and ran upstairs, where he scuffled with the fourth home invader.
After the father stabbed the would-be burglar three times, the wounded invader ran down the stairs and out the front door.
The four suspects fled in a getaway car. The 43-year-old individual who was stabbed was taken out of the car and left on the sidewalk in a village about 10 miles from Landstuhl. One of the other home invaders, his brother, remained with him and called for medical assistance, but the man died of blood loss.
The prosecutor’s office in May ruled that the American father had acted in self-defense and was cleared in the stabbing death of the home invader.
German police arrested a third suspect a day after the home invasion, and on March 19, they detained a 33-year-old French citizen in Darmstadt in connection with the attempted burglary.
The suspects face up to 15 years in jail if convicted on robbery charges, and up to one year for failing to provide assistance to the home invader who died.