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Sweden's 'racist sniper' felled for further crimes

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Sweden's 'racist sniper' felled for further crimes
11:08 CEST+02:00
Convicted murderer Peter Mangs had his attempt to overturn his life sentence quashed on Thursday by a local appeals court, which also found him guilty of an additional three attempted murders.

Mangs was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for two murders and five attempted murders. The Malmö district court (tingsrätten) was not unanimous in its decision, with one lay judge stating Mangs should only be convicted of one murder.

He was eventually acquitted of several charges, including a third murder, five attempted murders, and one conspiracy to commit murder charge.

On Thursday, however, the Malmö appeals court (hovrätten) not only denied his appeal, but convicted him of another three attempted murders.

After Mangs' arrest in 2010, Swedish police tried to tie him to several more attacks but inconclusive forensic evidence stood in their way. It lead to the prosecutor having to drop several charges against him even before the trial got off the ground.

The high-profile court case put an end to what Malmö residents called a period of terror as an unknown gunman targeted mostly foreign-born victims in the southern city with a Glock 19 pistol.

In the initial district court trial, the prosecutor said that Mangs had consulted Swedish psychiatric services in 2003, admitting that he was "easily insulted" and had an "interest in death".

The police, meanwhile, found Natural Born Killers and American Psycho in his DVD collection, alongside a copy of the book "Lasermannen", which examines the actions of a sniper who targeted immigrants in and around Stockholm during the early nineties.

Mangs, his slight frame draped in an over-size white shirt throughout much of the first trial, appeared disengaged throughout much of the court proceedings.

After being sentenced, Mangs, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, decided to appeal. He has always maintained his innocence, but admitted to some lesser accounts of vandalism - after having shot at street signs.

The case against him has from the start been built on forensic evidence, focusing on bullet shards, empty casings, and matching evidence to the barrel of his gun. Neither DNA nor fingerprints were ever found.

Two witnesses from Mangs' social circle, however, and testimony from a psychologist in touch with him during his detention before the trial, told the prosecutor that Mangs had confessed to the crimes.

TT/The Local/at

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