Top German court rejects appeals in far-right killing

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s top court on Thursday dismissed appeals in the killing of a regional politician who had advocated helping refugees, confirming the life sentence handed to a far-right extremist convicted of carrying out the execution-style slaying that shocked the country.

Walter Luebcke, a member of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party who led the regional administration in the Kassel area of central Germany, was shot dead on his front porch in 2019.

A Frankfurt regional court last year convicted neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst and ruled that he would not automatically be eligible for release after 15 years due to the severity of his crime.

The Federal Court of Justice rejected an appeal by Ernst’s lawyers challenging that decision.

Judges also dismissed an appeal by Luebcke’s family against the Frankfurt court’s decision to acquit an acquaintance of Ernst’s of accessory to murder in the case. Markus H., whose surname wasn’t released for privacy reasons, was instead convicted of weapons violations and sentenced to 18 months probation.

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