Far-right extremist convicted, sentenced to life for murder of German politician

Far-right extremist Stephan Ernst looks on in a courtroom in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday.
Stephan Ernst, a German far-right extremist accused of killing a regional politician, looks on in a courtroom Thursday in Frankfurt, Germany.
(Kai Pfaffenbach / Pool Photo)

A far-right extremist in Germany was convicted Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a regional politician in a brazen killing that shocked the country.

In its verdict against 47-year-old Stephan Ernst, the Frankfurt state court noted the “particular severity” of the crime, meaning that he will likely not be eligible for release after 15 years, as is typical under German law, the DPA news agency reported.

During his trial, Ernst admitted to the June 1, 2019, slaying of Walter Luebcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party who led the regional administration in the Kassel area of central Germany.


Luebcke was targeted because he had been outspoken in favor of helping refugees. Prosecutors said Ernst had attended a 2015 town hall event where the politician defended the German government’s decision to allow hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers into the country.

Ernst shot Luebcke on the politician’s porch. He died hours later.

The German government warned after Luebcke’s killing and other attacks that year that far-right extremism posed a significant security threat in the country.

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An accomplice who prosecutors said was with Ernst at the scene of the crime was convicted of weapons violations and sentenced to 18 months’ probation. The man was identified only as Markus H. because of German privacy laws.

He had been charged with accessory to murder, but his attorney argued that he was not involved in the killing.