Monday, March 16, 2009


Josef Fritzl, accused of imprisoning his daughter in a cellar for decades and fathering her seven children, pleaded guilty to incest, imprisonment and one charge of assault Monday at the opening of his trial in Austria. He denied charges of murder and enslavement. When asked to enter a plea on a charge of rape, the 73-year-old replied: “Partly guilty.” Franz Cutka, a press spokesman for the Landesgericht St. Poelten court, said the “partly guilty” plea might mean that Fritzl contends he is not guilty of all the individual rape charges or that the violence used wasn’t as severe as rape. Cutka was not in court for the plea and does not speak for the defendant. Fritzl arrived at the courthouse in St. Poelten covering his face with a blue binder to shield himself from reporters, television cameras and photographers and escorted by a phalanx of police officers. Fritzl faces six charges in a closed-door trial. The trial is scheduled to last five days, but his attorney Rudolph Mayer said it could be shorter. Fritzl was charged in November with incest and the repeated rape of his daughter, Elisabeth, over a 24-year period. But he was also charged with the murder of one of the children he fathered with her, an infant who died soon after birth. State Prosecutor Gerhard Sedlacek said Michael Fritzl died from lack of medical care. In an opening statement, prosecuting attorney Christiane Burkheiser handed damp-smelling items from the cellar where Elisabeth and her children had lived to jurors to give them an idea of the conditions in which they were allegedly locked up. In all, Fritzl is charged with: murder, involvement in slave trade (slavery), rape, incest, assault and deprivation of liberty, Sedlacek's office said. He could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of murder. Mayer said Sunday that Fritzl expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Story provide courtesy of CNN...

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