The initial section of the 19th day of trial focused on Carsten S.’s identification of the Ceska gun. An officer of the BKA testified and described the presentation of weapons. S. also commented on the process of identification and how he had recognized the weapon.
The rest of the session addressed the first interrogations of Holger G. in November 2011. In the process an interrogator described how G. had dealt with the news of Uwe Mundlos’s death and how G. had spoken of the frequent visits of the Three who had gone into hiding. Hereby it became apparent that G. had not given a complete testimony and was providing information only bit by bit. At the end the Accessory Prosecution addressed the question as to why the first interrogations shortly after the discovery and identification of Uwe Mundlos had already involved Holger G.’s relations to the right-wing scene.
The session began at 9.45 a.m. The first two hearings addressed the topics of weapon identification and the reconstruction of the weapon presentation. The weapon Carsten S. had bought and passed on to Böhnhardt and Mundlos was focused on first. Carsten S. himself was questioned on how the weapons and pictures of weapons had been presented to him. Presiding Judge Götzl urged S. to differentiate strictly between his own memory and knowledge from reports.
S. stated that he had mentioned “the gun and the silencer and such” during an interrogation on February 1, 2012, in Karlsruhe. He had then been shown copies and had eliminated several of the weapons to be seen, three to five had then been left over. On February 6, 2012, he had then been shown weapons in a police station close to Köln-Ossendorf. There had been a lot of guns on a table. He had already seen two weapons with silencers as he came in. He had pondered for a moment, as he had remembered from the news that the gun “had been kind of charred” and these weapons weren’t. He had then decided on one of the two weapons, as he had remembered that the gun had had a long silencer. He had been told to narrow down the possible weapons he could have passed on at the time. He had also ruled out the other one due to the pointed edges on the gun, which he might have remembered had there been any. But what had been crucial was the length of the silencer. An official had told him that this could be screwed off of course. Then he had remembered that there had been a thread at the end of the barrel, and not on the silencer. During the presentation there had been small labels in front of the weapons. All weapons had been black, same as the one he had passed on. Götzl asked whether S. had seen news reports on the gun prior to February 2012. S. referred to a Spiegel TV news report from after the weekend of November 8, 2011, which had already been mentioned in an earlier hearings. He could remember a press conference of the Federal Court of Justice. Whether he had seen the picture of the weapon on this occasion he couldn’t remember, he had an image of a charred gun in his head. At that point he had been unsure, as he had had a “German weapon” in mind, and then realised later that something wasn’t quite right about this.
S. stated to have also looked around on the Internet. Exactly what he had checked he couldn’t remember: “The weapon was mentioned in a lot of reports; I wasn’t specifically looking for it.” Götzl asked about the outcome of the presentation of images on February 1. S. said one of the weapons shown had been too large, another had been a machine gun, and none of them had had silencers. At the end he had narrowed the choice of about eight down to “two, three, four” weapons due to their size. During the interrogation on February 6 there had been about eight to ten weapons on the table, two of which had had silencers as he came in. He had concentrated on these weapons. He had then decided on the one with the longer silencer and without pointed edges, also due to the thread. Götzl asked whether this had been the kind of gun he had seen at the time and how sure he was. S.: “I believe it looked like this one. Had there been 15 similar guns with silencers and threads it would have been more difficult.” Co-plaintiff attorney Scharmer stated that S. had seen the silencer screwed on after all, and asked where the thread that he remembered had been. S.: “At the end of the gun, that stuck in my mind.” Attorney Hoffmann asked about the Česká blueprints on S.’s computer. S. said he had no idea how these had found their way on to his computer. Zschäpe’s attorney Stahl then asked several questions with regards to the weapon’s and the silencer’s appearance. S. answered that he couldn’t remember scratches or anything similar. The colour had been rather shiny. The gun had been completely black; he couldn’t remember there being any wood on the weapon’s handle or elsewhere. When questioned whether the weapon had had a trigger, S. also said he couldn’t remember what it looked like. Concerning the silencer he stated never to have seen one before: “I didn’t know it would be so long and heavy.” The silencer had been at least as long as the weapon itself, possibly longer. He believed the silencer to have been smooth and without holes, yet he couldn’t be sure. Wohlleben’s defending attorney Schneiders asked whether S. still wouldn’t answer any of Wohlleben’s attorney’s questions. Carsten S.’s attorney Pausch stated that nothing had changed in this matter. He then asked his client with regard to the slips of paper he had mentioned. S. said they had been white slips of paper, and he believed there to have been numbers on them, which he had also already reported. Pausch said this was a conclusion. S. then answered he had read the number “83” somewhere, but didn’t know if it had been on the weapon or in front of it. The official K. had said to take as much time as he needed to look at the guns, “and I said that I had already been looking at them the whole time during my introduction.” Once again attorney Stahl asked whether there had been silencers on two of the eight guns. S. said that there had been silencers on two of the guns, and there have been another next to the machine gun. One of the silencers had been longer, the other at least two thirds shorter. Prior to the presentation of the weapons he had not been asked to describe the weapon. Co-plaintiff attorney Tikbas asked whether S. had held the weapons in his hand during the presentation. S. stated he thought to have held the one with the longer silencer, he wasn’t sure if he had held both weapons. He didn’t think he had screwed the silencer off and on. In general it had been strange, as he had believed that this was the murder weapon. He had thought that these were the weapons that had been found, and only later found out that they were weapons of identical make.
This was followed by a presentation of images from the records. S. walked up to the judges’ bench. An image of the presentation table was shown on the screen. The images shown were coloured. S. stated that at the time, they had been black-and-white copies. He pointed to images of weapons and eliminated several of them. He pointed to the image of a gun and said: “At the time, I didn’t really remember the thread. Only during the presentation did I remember.” Back then it hadn’t been as discernible as it was now in the coloured pictures. Götzl asked if he was seeing the coloured imaged for the first time. S. stated he was “a hundred per cent” sure to have seen only black-and-white images on February 1. Götzl: “Then it probably makes little sense to continue at this point.” Zschäpe’s attorney Sturm: “You said that at the time you didn’t really remember the thread and it hadn’t really been discernible. Did you really remember the thread from back then, or was this a conclusion?” S. stated he had this memory from that time that there had been a thread at the end of the gun.
Co-plaintiff attorney Sfatkidis referenced copies in a case file and asked S., who by now had taken his seat and was able to look at the reports on Pausch’s computer, whether these copies were similar to the ones he had been shown. S. said this could well be. Attorney Kolloge said there were several series of copies, and asked if these could be exhibited in case the series was among them. S.’s attorney Hösl stated he had seen an abstract of the records which included these copies, he could bring them along.
Götzl interrupted the session until 11 o’clock, after which S. returned to the front. He was then presented with black-and-white copies. S. stated that these were not the copies he had been shown previously, which had been very hard to discern. Co-plaintiff attorney Wierig pointed out the poor quality of copies in the arrest file. Wohlleben’s attorney Schneiders asked whether these could be presented. Götzl stated that these were the presented pictures. General confusion ensued, after which defending attorney Stahl posed a few questions, among others concerning the situation in which S. had shown Wohlleben the weapon. Had he also looked at the clip? S.: “I don’t think so, I just remember that it was lying on the ground on a white sheet and what I said, that he screwed it on and aimed it at me. I remember these three things.” He was relatively sure the weapon had not been loaded. Stahl asked whether the weapon that S. had passed on had had a button to release the clip. S. stated he couldn’t remember.
The next witness was V., a detective of the BKA. He was asked to reconstruct the presentation of weapons which was focused on the gun the defendant Holger G. claimed to have passed on. During an interrogation Holger G. had said that the weapon had been small, black and metallic. V. reported that G. had been shown nine guns, but that he hadn’t been able to select any of them with certainty. He had been able to exclude the weapons eight and nine, as they had been too large, and had thought weapons four and six were likely candidates.
A blue box was brought into the courtroom. Nine weapons, two of which were machine guns, were taken from the box and set on a table. During the hearing it became clear that these weapons were from the BKA’s collection of comparison weapons. Comparison weapons had also been used during the interrogation at the time. Due to a different numbering system the witness V. was not able to say which weapons G. had excluded and which he had thought likely at the time.
Confusion also arose concerning the weapons’ exhibit and evidence numbers. Chief prosecutor Weingarten stated that one had to differentiate between the numbers of the original and the comparison weapons. Only after the presentation of pictures taken by the witness at the time and the numbers visible on these pictures could the witness identify the excluded machine guns and the weapons seen as likely, a Česká 70 (number four) and a Walther PP (number six). He also referred to picture number three which showed another Česká. The version of this weapon in the courtroom had a silencer, while at the time it had been presented without, as G. had stated not to have passed on a weapon with a silencer. Three pictures of two pump-guns which had been presented to G. were then shown. G. had stated that Böhnhardt had once shown him a pump-gun. If he could remember correctly the pictures showed the original weapons that had been found in the campervan. At the time G. had been inclined to pick the fully black weapon. During the hearing it became clear that G. had been shown identical models of the weapons that had been seized.
Defending attorney Stahl wanted to know the purpose of the first presentation of weapons. V. stated that they had hoped G. might remember the weapon he had transported. Stahl asked whether a possibly recognized weapon would have definitely been one of the seized weapons. V. confirmed this. The machine guns had been presented due to reasons of thoroughness. G. had not recognized any of the weapons with certainty.
Asked by Wohlleben’s attorney Klemke, he said: “We limited ourselves, as these were the weapons with a connection to the case.” Defending attorney Stahl pointed out that the extractor of the weapon on picture number three was silver, while the extractor of the weapon at hand in the courtroom was black. V. stated that he did not know which weapons his colleague had put together for the courtroom, he had not brought them himself. Götzl instructed him to find out during the lunch break whether the weapons at hand were the same ones as those presented to G. previously.
The hearing was continued at 1.10 p.m. V. reported that his colleague O. from the collection of comparison weapons had said that there were seven comparison models of the Česká. They were all of identical construction. It could be that comparison weapons had been brought to the courtroom that had not been part of the presentation in Cologne. Götzl complained that it was advisable to resolve such matters in advance. After several further questions, chief prosecutor Weingarten wanted to know what kind of specifications there had been in forensics concerning the presentation of weapons to G. V.: “That they were of identical construction.” Weingarten: “Identical to…?” V. said identical to the weapons at the scene of crime. The witness was then released.
A statement citing § 257 of the code of criminal procedure was made by chief prosecutor Weingarten, ascertaining that the presentation had been sufficiently documented by the photographs. The type of a gun was relevant during a presentation of weapons, not its individual features. Defending attorney Stahl replied that the presentation could not be aimed at the selection of a weapon already established as a crime weapon. The gun first had to be identified and only then could it be said whether it was one of the crime weapons. The presentation’s legal relevance was not only limited, it was actually non-existent.
Co-plaintiff attorney Hoffmann suggested that the way and manner the weapons were presented, as they were to S., could reduce the legal relevance. However, S.’s genuine memory during the presentation of the gun’s thread could be seen as highly relevant. This was a genuine criterion that fit both the weapon that had been found and the one he had passed on at the time. The weapon had triggered the recognition. This was not affected by the manner of presentation. Defending attorney Stahl replied that of course a thread could trigger memories. However, weapons normally came without threads, which were usually added later on. Defending attorney Klemke said the manner of the presentation in principle had to be questioned. Previously, S. had never mentioned a thread and there were countless weapons of the same construction with silencers and threads.
Then the witness L. was called, a detective chief inspector of the police in Eisenach. He had been part of the investigation into the bank robbery in Eisenach on November 4, 2011, and had been present when the campervan was found. L. had interrogated Holger G. three times in a police station in Bad Nenndorf (in Lower Saxony) on November 5/6, 2011.
At first, L. reported freely and was then questioned by Götzl. L. stated to have flown to Bad Nenndorf in a helicopter with a forensic officer, where G. had already been in custody. The reason for this had been that G. had hired the campervan. G. had thus been accused of being an accomplice or an accessory in the bank robbery. During the third interrogation, the officials F. and B. of the “Soko Parkplatz” had also been present, as the weapons of the murdered policewoman Kiesewetter and her wounded colleague had been found in the campervan. It had initially been a kind of “sample interrogation”.
G. had stated not to have hired any kind of campervan. He had been asked whether he had an alibi for October 14 and 25, 2011, the period in which the van had been rented, as well as November 4. G. had claimed to have worked on October 14, and to have gone on holiday to the Netherlands with his partner and her children on October 15. L stated that during a search documents confirming this had been found. On October 25 he had still been on vacation and had driven to Hannover with friends to attend a trial at the district court concerned with left-wingers. In the evening he had returned to work. On November 4 he had worked in the morning, then slept and later visited an acquaintance after 5 p.m. This had been confirmed by the witness Manuel B., who had been taken into custody with G. by mistake. L. said he had shown G. the signature on the rental contract, where the surname had come before the first name. G. had stated that he tended to sign in this manner, yet his writing wasn’t as “scrawly”. He could imagine that it could have been someone who knew him. He mentioned the names Wohlleben, Mundlos and Böhnhardt, as well as W. and M. from Hannover. The interrogation had begun to falter when the questions moved on to the passport and driving licence: “Obviously, he wasn’t sure what we knew and what we didn’t.” After a break he had related that he had given Böhnhardt the passport upon request. From 2006/2007 onwards he had received yearly visits from Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe, only in 2011 Zschäpe had not been present. G. had said that they had been friends and he hadn’t wanted to be seen as a traitor; Böhnhardt and Mundlos had said they already had his driving licence as well. B. had asked what kind of friendship it could have been if not handing over the passport could be seen as treason. “And at that point something was brought up about Jena and political orientation, which didn’t really interest me so much at the time. I suppose it should have.” Then the name Wohlleben had been mentioned. G. had said that he was in phase in which he would contact the “Freie Kräfte” (a group attributed to the neo-Nazi scene) again, although he was politically inactive. This was true for Wohlleben as well, he was inactive, and he had children.
B. said he had pointed out to G. that his driving licence had a different number than the one registered on the rental contract. G. had then admitted that he had applied for a new licence and had given Böhnhardt the old one. At first G. had also claimed that he couldn’t find his passport anymore.
Concerning his contact with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe, G. had reported that Mundlos had accompanied him when he had moved to Hannover with his mother, so he had known the address. In 2006/2007 Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe had then appeared at his mother’s address. He had given them his mobile phone number, yet had not received a number in return and had been told that they would call if they needed anything. L. said G. had apparently accepted this. Meetings had always been arranged by phone. The first meetings had taken place in public places. In 2010 and 2011 they had taken place in Lauenau, where G. lived. G. had said to have arranged the meetings in such a manner that his partner wouldn’t notice anything. L.: “He obviously lived in two worlds.” G. had reported that Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe had said they were on vacation. They had spoken of the Baltic Sea, the region of Lübeck and of camping sites. In his statement L. mentioned several times that he had spoken to G. about the fact that Hannover was not on the way to the Baltic Sea. G. had however believed this and said that they had been tanned. G. had stated that they had come in cars with a number plate with the letter “C”, as in Chemnitz, at least it had to have been from Saxony; he hadn’t seen a campervan. The cars had been high-end, yet the Three had been dressed in plain clothing, which hadn’t seemed right. G. had said to have asked about their standard of living, and that they had said that Mundlos owned a computer shop in Chemnitz which Zschäpe helped out with, and that Böhnhardt had occasional jobs. G. had said that he had had the feeling that this was all they wanted to tell him. According to L., G. had had the impression that Zschäpe wasn’t in a relationship with either of the two men. L. said he had asked whether there had been another friend and whether she had a child, as there had been a man, a woman and a child present when the campervan was rented. G. had stated that there never had been a child present. He had also stated not to know the name of the defendant E. He had been told by his sister, who still lived in Thuringia, that the Three had been searched for by the police from 1998 onwards. Wohlleben had also told him about this. G. had said to have had frequent contact with Wohlleben until 2002, the last time had been in 2006/2007; he knew that Wohlleben had a wife and children. In this context the remark had been made that Wohlleben had “sworn off” and was no longer active.
The questioning on November 6 had also addressed tattoos. Mundlos had been identified by his fingerprints; the second body had not been identified as easily. L. had received images of tattoos and had asked G. whether he could provide any indication regarding the second person. G. had reported that Böhnhardt had once had a girlfriend, Angelika D., whose initials he had had tattooed in prison. In the end however, G. had not been able to identify the second person by the tattoos. As there had been a connection to the murder of Michèle Kiesewetter through the weapons, L. had then tried find out whether G. had had any connection to this area. He had thus unsuspiciously asked about any connections to North Germany, which G. had denied, and then about connections to South Germany. G. had recounted that he had been in Munich for demonstrations and had attended a concert in the South with Sebastian W. Götzl inquired whether this concert was the punk and hard-core music festival in Leonberg, mentioned in a transcript. L. confirmed this. Once again the topic of meetings with the Three and of friendship was addressed. In this context L. said they had wanted to understand how the group had been structured. L.: “And then he told me that Böhnhardt and Mundlos had been equal leaders; then came Ms Zschäpe, followed by Ralf Wohlleben and right at the bottom himself, in this ranking or hierarchy.” Regarding the visit to court, G.’s political views were addressed once again. L. stated not to have asked about these, and they had also not been offered by G. However, they had talked about the fact that G. had invested a lot of time into politics and had achieved nothing. L.: “To be frank, everything had been a load of crap.”
L. confirmed Götzl’s comments on the record of interrogation, which cited G. to have said that he had “to some extent” or “completely distanced” himself from Mr M., but had still been on good terms with him. The visit in court, G. had said, had been a friendly turn. According to G., politics had not been discussed during the meetings with the Three, said L. Götzl quoted G.’s statement from the protocol, saying that the Three had said to him “that they had now adjusted themselves to the situation.” L. stated that G. had not elaborated further, but that “this seemed to have been in reference to their demeanour as a group.” According to G., his nickname had been “Buck” or “Buckel”. Briefly, drugs and G.’s gambling addiction were addressed, after which L. described G.’s behaviour once more: “I deliberately attempted to observe his behaviour. And he became uneasy when he somehow realised: they know that my passport was used, they know that my driving licence was used; and then he had started to squirm. There was a process.” He had tried to respond when presented with facts. L.: “When he felt more or less sure that we were groping about in the dark, he didn’t go into great detail. But when he did say something, I felt it was truthful, and his body language didn’t seem to contradict this.”
Then it was the Accessory Prosecution’s turn to ask questions. Attorney Scharner asked whether L. had had any prior knowledge of G’s connections to the right-wing scene when he flew to Bad Nenndorf. L. said he had guessed as much; he still remembered the wanted poster of Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe from 1997/1998 when he served with the riot police and had known that these Three belonged to right-wing scene; he hadn’t been sure with G. At the time he had not read a note written by his colleague P., head of state security, which had led to investigations into G. and others’ connections to the right-wing scene. P. had surely been asked whether he knew G., who had hired the campervan. During the flight he had thought about what he could ask G., and had not known what P. had written at the time. Attorney von der Behrens wanted to know how much time had passed between the taking of finger prints and the identification of Mundlos’ body. L. said there had been a discussion whether the securing of evidence or the identification of the bodies had priority. The police leader had decided that the identification should take place first. On the following day he had received a call at 5 a.m. and was told that one of the bodies had been identified as Uwe Mundlos. On November 5, at around 10 a.m., he had flown to Bad Nenndorf. The scene of crime officers had been in charge of identification. He had not been present when the fingerprints had been compared. He did not remember the names of those who had told him. He only remembered telling two colleagues to be present during the autopsy, so he wouldn’t have to wait for the result to arrive in the mail. Götzl said attorney von der Behrens could have checked the autopsy report. Von der Behrens replied that she had done so, but that there had been no mention whether fingerprints had been taken from the bodies. Attorney Clemm wanted to know if G. had been told about the bodies during the interrogation. L. said he believed not to have mentioned them straight away. L.: “He was totally shocked when we finally had to tell him that Mundlos was dead.” G.’s defending attorney Hachmeister asked L. whether he had also told G. that the two bodies found were Mundlos and Böhnhardt. L. replied that he had only spoken of Mundlos. He couldn’t remember in which interrogation that had been, possibly during the middle part of the first one. Hachmeister wanted to know how G. had reacted when L. had told him that his documents had been used to rent a campervan. L said that G. had not been pleased. Hachmeister asked if G. had seemed surprised. L.: “At one point he said these two sentences, it wasn’t him, he didn’t do it, during the first interrogation. Yet I didn’t detect any signs of great dismay or bewilderment.” Defending attorney Stahl asked if L. had had the impression that G. was adapting his answers to things he could bring forward. L.: “I always suspect people of doing that.” However, G. had then seemed to be truthful in parts. After some questions concerning the situation of the interrogation and the technique of questioning, Wohlleben’s defending attorney Schneiders addressed the topic of the campervan. L. stated that he had carried out the work at the crime scene of the robbery and had initiated the search. Just before 12 a.m. they had received the message that a campervan had been sighted and shots had been fired. They had then driven there. Members of the uniformed police had already arrived. Ten to fifteen minutes later they had arrived. He had told the fire brigade to be careful when putting out the fire. Patrollers had been present. He had entered the campervan for the first time with the head of the police department, Mr M. He had called for reinforcements from Gotha, as well as forensic pathologists, scene of crime officers; there had also been further officers in Mr M’s team. Presiding Judge Götzl stated he did not understand the question, as they were now dealing with the matter of the interrogation.
The hearing was brought to an end at 4.53 p.m.
After the session, co-plaintiff attorney Sebastian Scharner made the following statement with regard to the questioning of Carsten S.:
“The details of the weapon described by Carsten S. are so specific that they can only have been known to a perpetrator. A thread at the end of the weapon, not on the silencer, is typical for the murder weapon. S. still remembers exactly how he watched Wohlleben screw on the silencer. He noticed at the time that the thread was on the weapon and not on the silencer. He was able to visualise this during the presentation of weapons. Thus, he continues to incriminate both Wohlleben and Zschäpe.”
Concerning Holger G. he said:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Holger G. provided information only bit by bit, was behaving in a tactical manner. […]”