The Weimar Murder Case Study
Final Part + Conclusion
After almost seeing what has happened in this murder case we will see about the evidences collected throughout the investigation by the special task force and Federal Border Police . In the previous two parts we have just read about what special task force was thinking about who might be the culprit , we have also read different stories delivered by Mrs Weimar during the Questioning by the Special Force / Police ,what might be the reasons for the murder etc. So in an investigation evidence plays an important role in proving a culprit guilty in the court and during the evidence collection we should collect all the evidence we see ( whether it will be usefull or not ). Then we should make sure that we separate the evidence which are presentable in the court.
So let’s see what were the different evidence collected , and what was the conclusions made…..
First evidence found was Fibers on clothes , bed-sheets etc. As this was the case of two suspects it was very necessary to collect fiber traces from clothes and bare parts of the children’s bodies. It was necessary to find out what clothes the suspects were wearing at the supposed time of the crime through questioning the suspects themselves as well as the witnesses among the members of the family ,circle of friends and possible witnesses from the neighborhood. The investigators made no efforts to receive further statements as to the clothes that Reinhard Weimar wore at the time of the crime, although Reinhard Weimar himself was only able to suppose what he had on. The other suspect along , Monika Weimar, was asked during a questioning about the clothes her husband wore on the night of Sunday to Monday , August 4,1986. She declared that he wore “dark-blue trousers and a T-Shirt striped white and blue” . The bodies and clothes of the children only showed fibers originating from Monika Weimar’s clothing. It was quite obvious that this result could not be correct as the children were constantly in contact with their father too, so that their clothes had to be contaminated with fibers form his garments. Despite the evident inaccuracy of these findings, the Regional Court in Fulda later found it “ Evident that the specialist, during the examination of the children and their clothes, found fibers which did not belong to one of the couple’s garments handed over, but none that could be related to a garment belonging to Reinhard Weimar ”. Monika Weimar was arrested on October 26, 1986. Among other things, the warrant of arrest was based on a report of the Office of Criminal Investigation of the state of Hesse according to which “partly no, partly a small amount of fibers that could be assigned to the fibers used in the clothing of the children (was) found” on their bed linen. In her statement made for the first time on August 29, 1986, Monika Weimar had claimed that, on her return in the night of August 4, 1986, the children had worn the same T-shirts as during the day and had lain lifelessly in their beds. According to the Regional Court of Fulda, Monika was seriously incriminated ,by another examination with the following background: A total of 73 fibers of a yellow blouse which Monika Weimar had worn on August 4, 1986, was secured on Melanie’s white T-shirt. Monika Weimar claimed that she had also worn this blouse on the previous day, at least in the evening when saying good-bye to the children.
This seemed to be the key to the truth: The yellow fibers, had they been transferred during normal domestic (“legal”) contact or in the course of a last close contact when killing the child? The Office of Criminal Investigation tried to answer this question. The following hypothesis seemed to suggest itself. If the fibers had been transferred to Melanie’s white T-shirt on the previous day — e.g. when Monika Weimar gave her child a goodbye hug , Melanie would inevitably have transferred part of the fibers of the blouse to the bed linen, if she wore this T-shirt in bed on the return of her mother at night. In the report of the Office of Criminal Investigation of June 11, 1987 a conclusion of serious consequence was drawn: “On the evening of August 3 or during the night of August 3 to 4, 1986, a contact between larger parts of one side of the T-shirt and the bed sheet took place”. This was a fatal misjudgment . What would have had to be considered? This report was about the difference of one fiber found and six (max.: ten) fibers to be expected in accordance with the test series. At best, a probability statement would have been appropriate. What is even more decisive, however, is that manifold sources of errors were not mentioned and not taken into account either, as the new interrogations in Gießen showed. Here they are in detail:
- Only eleven days after the children were reported missing was the bed linen secured. August 1986 was a very hot month so that one can assume that the rooms were aired a lot. Each movement of the air makes fibers move and disappear.
- Bed sheet, bed cover and pillow were put together in one single plastic bag and sent to the Office of Criminal Investigation. There were no insulating material (e.g. silk paper) between the individual pieces of cloth, which could have avoided the transfer of fibers from one piece to the other.
- During the fiber examination, two small pillows from each bed and a neck roll were totally ignored. The criminal investigators of Bad Hersfeld had also sent them to the Office of Criminal Investigation for examination where they had simply been overlooked.
- - Even though fiber traces were secured in the packaging material (plastic bags!), too, they were not evaluated because, according to the expert of the Office of Criminal Investigation at his questioning in Gießen the loss of fibers through the transfer of fibers to the packaging material was believed to be “minimal”. What the experts did not even take into consideration as a source of error was the fact that friction of smooth plastic surfaces always causes electrostatic charge and thus magnetic effects on small particles like fibers.
This enumeration is no sophisticated reasoning. It is its special importance for the solution of capital crimes in particular which makes a careful research, reporting and evaluation of the sources of error of each fiber analysis indispensable before drawing any conclusions.After all, not just the conviction in Fulda, but also the acquittal in Gießen have been influenced to a large extent by a fiber analysis.
Second evidence which was found and considered to much extend was Stomach Contents found from the Victims .
The postmortem showed that Karola’s stomach was quite filled with “light brown, slightly creamy liquid”. The same goes for Melanie. Her stomach contained 30 nil. The examination of the stomach contents by the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Frankfurt revealed starch grains suggesting that both girls had eaten wheat-flour products before they died. It might have been a roll for breakfast, but it might also have been cookies accessible to them in the dining room. As, by mistake, Melanie’s stomach contents was totally used up for a toxicological examination, it could not be determined whether Melanie had drunk or eaten anything and what it had been. The forensic examination of Karola’s stomach contents revealed very small quantities of caffeine and slightly larger quantities of the obromine. Gerchow concluded that she must have consumed a beverage containing cocoa. Another examination of Karola’s stomach contents was carried out by the Institute for Dairy Farming in Kiel . In his report submitted to the Regional Court in Fulda during the first trial, Prof. Schlimme came to the following conclusion: “It is safe to say that Karola Weimar consumed food containing milk fat and milk proteins (whey proteins and casein). Milk fat and milk proteins are the main fat and protein components in the stomach chyme. Beside the milk fat, further lipids were found which stem from a non-milk fat, based on the fatty acids analysis this probably was, among other things, a wheat pastry (e.g. wheat roll?). Although the fats and proteins were broken down to a large extent, the relatively high amount of immunoreactive, non-denatured whey protein, above all which, as stomachphysiological findings show, passes quickly through the stomach ,shows that the motor and transport function of the stomach came to a standstill soon (between 30 and 60 minutes) after the intake of food. The milk product which was doubtlessly consumed was based on the relatively high amount of intact whey protein in the stomach probably low-fat pasteurized milk”.
Prof. Schlimme’s report contained a cardinal statement which he explicitly confirmed in Gießen The high amount of “immuno reactive , non-denatured whey protein” would have had to pass the stomach within 30 minutes or 60 minutes at the most. The gastroenterologists Prof. Bloch and Prof. Rösch heard during the retrial also confirmed this finding. This meant: Karola survived her last meal by one hour at the most!.Ascertaining the truth in criminal proceedings is a reconstruction of reality. The reliability of the evidence and the objective judgment of the judges determine how close the reconstruction is to reality. The events on the morning of August 4, 1986 were partly indisputable, partly disputable concerning the chronological order. It is a fact that Monika Weimar left her home in the Ausbacher Straße with her car at around 10.50 am. It is a fact that she had made some money transfers at a savings bank and the post office nearby shortly before 11 am. It is a fact that her car was seen between shortly after 11 and 11.20 am on the car park near which, three days later, Melanie’s body was found. It is also a fact that she was back in the Ausbacher Straße at around 12.15 am at the latest. The big problem was the almost 20-minute stay of Monika Weimar near the place where Melanie’s body was found later. If this stay, the exact time of which is documented by a witness on his way to the dentist, is considered to be part of the actual crime, the neighbor witnesses who, with increasing precision, said they had seen the children between 10.50 and 10.57 am on the gravel path in front of the house in the Ausbacher Straße and/or on the adjacent playground, must be deemed unreliable since it takes at least ten minutes to drive to the car park. But then there would have been no witnesses at all who had seen Melanie and Karola on the morning of August 4, 1986 which had made a conviction of Monika Weimar impossible. . The Court in Fulda realized the problem; in the reasons given for the judgment it relied on a slightly unrealistic construction with regard to the chronological order and dynamics: The Court describes a mother who wants to get rid of her children but carries out two transactions at the post office and the savings bank, then drives to a car park where she tries for 20 minutes to find a suitable hiding place for the bodies of her children still alive at home, who then returns home at high speed, tells her children to get into the car, drives, again at high speed, to another car park, then suffocates and strangles her two children one after the other at around 11.40/11.45 am — to put it bluntly: brutally killed them , leaves one body at the scene of the crime, puts the other body back into the car and drives it to the car park where half an hour earlier she had stayed for 20 minutes, throws the second body in a thicket of stinging nettles and finally returns back home at around 12.15 am to greet her husband lying on the couch.
one could even ask: Did all these events during the morning take place at all? Was it a fact or fiction? Of course: Theoretically, even another intake of food on their own initiative and unnoticed by Reinhard Weimar who was in the apartment cannot be totally excluded (this was a consideration of the public prosecutor in Gießen). However, on how many unproved assumptions and improbable possibilities is it allowed to base a judgment?
Spann, who was Director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Munich for many years, describes the death from strangling as follows: “As we know from descriptions of crimes, strangling takes relatively long, because it is really necessary to overpower the victim. Therefore, it lasts over a period of five to ten minutes, sometimes even more. All the same, three minutes of continuous strangling is the minimum of time needed to kill a person. The same goes for children. Only with very sick people, those suffering from a heart condition in particular, might we expect that a shorter period of time is required”. All textbooks about forensic medicine describe the mictuntion and defaecation of the victim during death throes as a typical autonomic reaction, as a result of a spill of hormones (fear of death). The Regional Court in Fulda gave the judgment on January 8, 1988 contains the following final statement: “The Court is convinced that the damage of the windshield is directly connected with the killing of the children and that the defendant does not reveal its actual cause since this would expose her as the culprit”. The problems connected with evidence by witnesses were not treated in this paper. In the Gießen trial, there were witnesses who talked about confessions or statements similar to confessions by Reinhard Weimar. There were also witnesses who continued to swear blind that they had still seen the children on the morning of August 4, 1986. The author like some other people involved in the proceedings had repeatedly wished for sending all witnesses under oath or not packing. In contrast to this, the idea of an objectivized process of finding the truth on the sole basis of material evidence may seem fascinating. However: Material evidence is not always objective either. It is its often seemingly compelling probatory force in particular that tempts its interpreters ,experts in criminology and forensic medicine ,to come to conclusions where precaution would just allow hypotheses. The insinuations of prejudice also retain their significance in the assessment of material evidence. What is always indispensable is a careful analysis of the basis of evidence and the methods. Only then can Goethe’s quotation about “reason and science” as “the finest faculty of man” be applied.
The personal sometimes origin of bias must not play a role in the development of this faculty. Monika Böttcher, divorced R Weimar who has been acquitted. I hope justice was done to her. There was none for Melanie and Karola Weimar.This case remained an unsolved case when it came to justice to Two children’s .
So this was all from my side . Hope this reaches interested people. Hope you read all the parts of the case study . Coming up with some surprising stuff related to Cyber Security.
Till then Happy Learning :)