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'Laser Man' seeks his freedom

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'Laser Man' seeks his freedom
18:02 CEST+02:00
After 16 years behind bars, John Ausonius, better known as the Laser Man wants to have a time limit placed his lifetime prison sentence.

On Wednesday he tried to convince the Örebro District Court that he doesn't hate immigrants any longer and that he regrets his crimes.

Ausonius's crimes resulted in a penalty unique in Swedish legal history, according to vice prosecutor Kristian Agneklev, who opposes placing a time limit on his sentence.

He was convicted in 1995 for one murder and ten attempted murders of immigrants, as well as for committing eight bank robberies in the early 1990s.

With grey streaks in his hair, the Ausonius who appeared in court this week presented himself as a modest, 54-year-old man. He appeared to have come a long way from where he was when his sentence was handed down.

His aggressive nature was unavoidable in the past, when he attacked his lawyer during a courtroom hearing and stabbed a guard during an attempted escape from jail.

The authorities regard the risk that Ausonius may once again commit violent crimes as “medium-high” and “clearly heightened”. As a result, he is not allowed to have any unsupervised leave, despite the fact that he has handled himself well during the last eight years at Kumla correctional facility.

His lawyer, Thomas Carlstedt, believes that the heightened surveillance of his client may be in part “political”.

“This is the largest Swedish legal case after the murder of Olof Palme. Perhaps people don't dare to release him just for that reason,” Carlstedt said to the TT news agency.

Ausonius says his past hate blinded him and that he deeply regrets his crimes.

“I'm sitting in a section of Kumla where everyone has a life sentence, and half of the inmates are immigrants. I've really had my eyes opened that people deserve respect wherever they come from. And I have been very well received myself by people who really had a reason to hate me,” said Ausonius.

He has gone through a one-year program to help him learn how to control his temper and prevent his aggressive temperament from coming out.

“I've been given tools to help me handle such situations. Avoiding stress and leaving quickly, for example,” said Ausonius.

Now he wants his freedom, to move home to the woman who has served as his contact person, and who has offered him work and a place to live.

“I want to try to win back the respect of fellow human beings and show them that they don't need to be afraid of me. But I have taken the life of another person, and that's something I can never leave behind,” he said.

The prosecutor isn't convinced that Ausonius's regret is genuine.

“He gave the impression of wanting to give the impression that he's remorseful,” said Agneklev to TT following the hearing.

The court is expected to announce its decision next Wednesday.

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