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Life sentence for poacher who killed German police officers


BERLIN (AP) — A court in western Germany convicted a 39-year-old man of murder Wednesday in the shooting deaths of two police officers who had stopped him and an accomplice earlier this year on suspicion of poaching.

Fatal attacks on police are rare in Germany and the killings of the two young officers prompted widespread outrage and condemnation.

A regional court in the city of Kaiserslautern sentenced the defendant, who was identified only as Andreas S. due to privacy rules, to life imprisonment. Judges dismissed the defendant's claim that he had acted in self-defense and ruled that due to the severity of the crime he will not be automatically eligible for parole after 15 years.

A second, 33-year-old defendant was found guilty of commercial poaching but the court refrained from sentencing him because his testimony had helped solve the case and he didn't shoot, German news agency dpa reported.

The 29-year-old male officer and a 24-year-old female colleague who had nearly completed her training had stopped the defendants near Kusel, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of Frankfurt, in the early hours of Jan. 31.

The officers informed colleagues by radio that the suspects' car trunk was “full of wild animals” and called for reinforcements when the shooting started. The older officer was able to fire 15 shots before he was killed, but neither of the defendants was hit.

The verdicts can be appealed.