Father of boy who killed 15 walks free from German court

Father of boy who killed 15 walks free from German court

The court in Stuttgart sentenced Joerg Kretschmer, 52, to 21 months in jail but suspended the sentence.

Judge Reiner Skujat ruled the man enabled the Winnenden school shooting by leaving his pistols and ammunition unsecured at home where Tim, 17, could help himself to them.

The March 11, 2009 shooting spree in south-western Germany shocked the world. Families of the murdered children lobbied hard for the businessman father to be brought to trial and urged the court to give him at least a token term of actual imprisonment.

The father, who was never detained, stayed away from most of the trial, but showed up at the end to say he was sorry for what his 17-year-old son did. He kept his gun-club weapons at home in his bedroom.

The boy returned to the school he had graduated from one year earlier and opened fire on children, then continued the spree in nearby Wendlingen before shooting himself.

The court convicted the father on 15 counts of homicide by negligence and 14 counts of causing bodily harm by negligence as well as charges under gun safety laws.

Prosecutors had recommended a suspended term, but lawyers for the bereaved families said to the last they hoped the elder Kretschmer would serve some jail time.

Kretschmer's lawyer said the father's life had already been ruined by the son and he had suffered enough.