US Army civilian in Germany is cleared in stabbing death of home invader
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 8, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A U.S. Army civilian acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed a home invader with a kitchen knife during an attempted robbery of his home in Landstuhl, the local German prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.
German authorities were required to investigate whether the American used reasonable or excessive force in defending himself during the attack on Feb. 10.
The investigation found that the man and his wife, who was assaulted during the home invasion, both suffered bruises and abrasions, Zweibruecken lead prosecutor Iris Weingardt said.
“The actions of the American father were justified by self-defense,” Weingardt said in a statement. “Therefore, the case against him for bodily injury was terminated.”
A group of four masked robbers stormed into the American’s home, where a violent struggle ensued.
While the father fought to force three of the invaders out of the front door, a fourth culprit made it into the house, where the man’s wife and three young children were hiding. The father described the confrontation in detail to Stars and Stripes after the incident. The father’s account matched the prosecutor’s report issued on Wednesday.
“The American, hearing the cries of his wife, had armed himself with a kitchen knife to ward off the attacker,” Weingardt said.
He ran to the upper floor, where a scuffle ensued. Meanwhile, the three other culprits remained outside the front door, hitting its glass panels.
“The American, who feared that the attacker would reopen the front door ... struck the attacker with two knife wounds in the left shoulder area and the left armpit,” Weingardt said.
The culprit then fled and made it out the door. Police said the invaders drove away but stopped in the nearby village of Krickenbach. They laid the 43-year-old injured man on the sidewalk. One of the suspects, the older brother of the injured man, asked a witness to call for medical help.
The wounded man died at the scene from blood loss related to puncture wounds, investigators said, citing an autopsy result. His 51-year-old brother was arrested and charged with attempted robbery and two other suspects also were later arrested.
The evidence at the scene and police statements confirmed the American couple’s recounting of events, Weingardt said.
Gerhard Langguth, a German defense lawyer, told Stars and Stripes that he expected the probe against his client to be formally closed after the prosecutors’ findings.
“Just think about it — if someone attacks a family so massively in their own house, you have to defend yourself,” Langguth said.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the suspects continues. A trial date has not yet been announced.
Stars and Stripes reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this story.