Defendant Markus H .: What role did he play in the murder of Walter Lübcke?
Photo: Thomas Lohnes / dpa
Walter Lübcke wasn't afraid.
In the late evening of June 1, 2019, he was sitting on the terrace of his house in Wolfhagen-Istha, Hesse, unprotected and visible from a distance.
He was sitting in his favorite spot, in a garden chair, a cigarette in one hand, his smartphone in the other, looking for a destination for a short trip with his wife.
Until Stephan Ernst stalked across the adjacent paddock and shot the Kassel regional president in the head.
After 33 days of negotiations in the trial against Stephan Ernst, these are the facts that have been confirmed.
It is still unclear: Was Markus H. at the crime scene, as Ernst claims?
What exactly was going on on the terrace: Was there a conversation between the men?
Did Walter Lübcke fight back?
Did he get up from the chair?
The politician's family hopes to find their way back to life by answering these questions, even if it will be different without the husband, without the father, without the grandfather.
The truth, say the relatives, is vital to them.
The truth, says Stephan Ernst, is that he wasn't alone that evening;
that Markus H. was involved in the act;
that there was a brief exchange of words and that Walter Lübcke looked at H. before his death while Ernst aimed at him with the Rossi caliber .38 revolver and pulled the trigger.
But there is no evidence of this version.
Ernst's defense attorney Mustafa Kaplan has therefore requested that Daniel Zabel be summoned as a witness.
He is supposed to confirm the accomplice's version.
Zabel works for Frank Hannig, Ernst's former lawyer: Zabel knows the investigation file and he knows the statements that Ernst Hannig made to Hannig.
On Hannig's order, Zabel spied and sniffed around the crime scene, reconstructed Ernst's information on the course of the crime and compared it with the evidence.
Who brought Markus H. into the conversation?
A wiry man, 41 years old, with dark hair, in a dark suit and light blue tie, enters the courtroom.
Zabel is still a judicial officer, but suspended because he distributed the arrest warrant for a provisionally arrested Iraqi after the death of Daniel Hillig in Chemnitz.
In the local elections in the spring, he stood up for the AfD in Dresden, and is now a member of the Saxon state board.
Ernst released Hannig from his obligation of confidentiality on certain points.
This now also applies to Zabel, he is allowed to answer questions about the course of events on the terrace.
The presiding judge Thomas Sagebiel calls him "Mr. Hannig's assistant" and asks: What did Ernst tell his former lawyer?
Who brought Markus H. into the conversation?
Who made the story that H. even shot?
Zabel keeps calm.
He had chauffeured Hannig to the correctional facility and waited in the car while Hannig spoke to the detained Ernst.
After the third or fourth visit there, Hannig got into the car: "Don't believe that: Ernst says he wasn't alone at the crime scene!" That was in August.
Lawyer Hannig kept a "personal diary": After the talks with Ernst in prison, he documented his impressions on the drive, recorded them and discussed them with Zabel.
It was also about the fact that Ernst "got entangled in contradictions".
Ernst had an interest in Hs involvement in the crime being made public;
therefore Hannig organized a press conference at the beginning of January.
There the lawyer had stated at the time that Ernst had confessed to having been on the terrace of the district president with Markus H.
They wanted to give the CDU politician a »rubdown«.
Markus H. accidentally shot Walter Lübcke.
"The alarm bells went off for me," admits Zabel.
In court, Ernst testified that Hannig had come up with this variant.
The version came from Ernst, that's how Hannig described it to him and commissioned him to check whether his information could be correct.
"We had the impression that Ernst was playing with us." The name Markus H. has come more and more into focus, says Zabel.
"That's how I determined."
New witness in the trial against Stephan Ernst and Markus H .: Suspended prison officer Daniel Zabel with his lawyer Frank Hannig (archive image)
Photo: Christian Essler / imago images / xcitepress
After Zabel has left the room, Björn Clemens, who is defending Markus H., makes a statement.
Zabel's statements had refuted what Kaplan wanted to prove by questioning him: namely that Ernst Hannig had already named Markus H. as an accomplice at the beginning of the mandate.
In addition, Zabel's statement once again confirmed that Ernst was adapting his testimony.
Kaplan did not comment on the statement in court.
He told SPIEGEL: “Mr Ernst is involved in the trial for the killing of Dr.
Lübcke is about providing clarification.
With the partial release from the confidentiality obligation of the lawyer Hannig and his assistant Zabel, my client has enabled the Lübcke family, the Senate and the Federal Prosecutor's Office to carry out the killing of Dr.
Enlighten Lübcke further. «In this way, Ernst kept his promise to help ensure that the Lübcke family's questions» are fully answered.
He will consistently continue on this path. "
On the next Thursday, his client wanted to "work off" the many questions that Walter Lübcke's wife asked him when she was questioned in court.
Ernst also wanted to comment on his plans to get out of the right-wing scene.
"Serious setback for the family"
On this day, the 5th Criminal Senate rejects the sub-prosecution's motions, such as the confiscation of documents from the possession of the former defense counsel - despite the support of the representatives of the Federal Prosecutor's Office and Ernst's defense.
"Completely surprising, completely incomprehensible and a very serious setback for the family," said Dirk Metz, the family's spokesman, on the court's decision in an interview with SPIEGEL.
The attack on Frank Hannig the previous evening is not an issue on this day of the trial.
According to information from SPIEGEL, the Dresden lawyer was traveling in his car.
When the vehicle lost coolant, Hannig stopped at a petrol station in Döbeln in central Saxony.
A stranger beat Hannig to hospital there.
The police do not rule out a targeted attack, the car was seized and checked for tampering.
Actually, Zabel had wanted to take it to Frankfurt to the court.
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