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Suspect released as verdict looms

TT/The Local · 23 Apr 2008, 16:10

Published: 23 Apr 2008 16:10 GMT+02:00

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Prosecutor's in the case have called for the 50-year-old man to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the man’s defence attorney called for an suspended sentence.

“I’m terribly, terribly sorry that what happened has happened,” the 50-year-old man said in court on Wednesday.

Head public prosecutor Tommy Clevenhult claims that the man could not have caused life-threatening injuries with three out of the four shots he fired had he been semi-conscious at the time.

Moreover, the prosecutor is not convinced by the psychiatric experts who have testified that the accused man suffered from a serious mental disorder when he shot a 15-year-old boy to death and seriously wounded the boy’s 17-year-old friend.

When the shots were fired, the man must have had a very clear visual impression, claims Clevenhult. He also pointed to the 50-year-old man’s clear and substantive conversation with emergency operators following the incident.

The prosecutor feels the trial has focused too much on the harassment suffered by the man and his family before the shooting.

“I’d like to bring the trial back to what it’s really about. It’s about what happened to these boys,” said Clevenhult.

Fighting back tears, the mother of the dead 15-year-old boy explained the shock of the incident and the difficulty of living life without her son.

“I see the hearse. Then they pull out the stretcher. He’s lying there. He eyes are still open,” she said.

“We have to try [to live a normal life] for the sake of the other children. But it is so hard. It feels empty.

But the 50-year-old’s defence attorney, Vidar Wahlestedt, explained that hundreds of people have written, emailed, and called him to show their support for the father. In addition, around 7,000 people have signed a petition pledging their support for the man.

“He is basically a peaceful and pleasant man who would never hurt a fly,” said Wahlestedt.

The defence attorney also criticized the prosecutors in the case for not listening to the psychiatric experts.

“I’m surprised that my colleagues can simply roll over the experts,” he said.

Story continues below…

Wahlestedt doesn’t think the man can be sentenced to prison or even to court-mandated psychiatric care, even if the court finds that he committed the crimes for which he is on trial.

“If we follow the law, he should receive a suspended sentence,” said the defence attorney.

He concluded his statement by calling for the 50-year-old’s release while he awaits the verdict.

The man is on trial for shooting at a group of teenagers who had trespassed on his farm outside of Rödeby in southern Sweden last fall and threatened to harm his family, killing one and seriously wounding another.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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