The court, which is under police protection, is to spend the next six days trying a case that has stirred emotions nationwide.
The 50-year-old man fired on two youths at close range with a shotgun at his farm in southern Sweden on the night of October 6th last year and was arrested that same night after alerting police to his actions.
The incident resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy, while a 17-year-old boy was left with serious injuries.
The two victims were part of a group of several youths who had come to the house during the night. According to police records, the suspect and his family had previously been harassed by the same gang of youths. The suspect explained while in custody that the youths had called his family’s home earlier in the evening threatening to kill his son.
With journalists and other spectators jostling for position at the Karlskrona court, a queue stretching all the way down the stairs from the second floor courtroom suggested that not everybody would be able to follow the trial from the visitors’ gallery.
Many of those gathered on Wednesday morning were connected in some way with the 15-year-old boy and his friends. Most were reluctant to speak to reporters.
But Rasmus Sundberg, a 20-year-old from Karlskrona, said that he had heard so many rumours about what had happened on the night in question that he now wanted to see how the case was actually presented in court.
A psychiatric analysis of the suspect has shown that he was grappling with serious mental problems at the time of the shooting. But mental health specialist Peter Andiné also asserted that the suspect’s difficulties had subsequently cleared up. Consequently there were no medical reasons for him to be placed in psychiatric care.
But the court may if it wishes choose to by-pass the legal recommendation. Because of the complicated nature of the case, the court has brought in one additional judge as well as an extra lay judge.
Should the 50-year-old be found guilty of murder, it is entirely at the discretion of the district court to decide on an appropriate punishment.