KASSEL, Germany — A German computer expert — charged with killing, dismembering and eating the flesh of an Internet acquaintance — made a detailed confession at the opening of his murder trial yesterday.
The accused said he was only doing what the victim wanted.
Armin Meiwes, 42, who lived in an ancient former manor house in Rotenburg, gave chilling testimony about how his fantasy of finding someone to become “a part of me” turned real. Rotenburg is a central German town about 20 miles southeast of Kassel.
Meiwes — a poised, slender man wearing a dark suit and tie — described matter-of-factly how Bernd Juergen Brandes, 43, traveled from Berlin to visit him in March 2001 in reply to an Internet advertisement seeking a young man for “slaughter and consumption.”
Meiwes said his fantasies began as a child, when he felt lonely and imagined killing and eating a “younger brother.”
He said he got more than 400 responses to his Internet solicitation from people who wanted to join him in acting out the fantasy.
Meiwes told the state court that he and his victim chatted for several weeks on the Internet. When they met, he said, Brandes undressed.
“Now you can see my body. I hope you’ll find me tasty,” Meiwes quoted his visitor as saying.
Brandes later said he wanted to be stabbed to death after drinking a bottle of cold medicine to lose consciousness, Meiwes testified.
Meiwes said he stabbed his victim the next morning, believing he was already dead, and recorded his act on a videotape that is being used as evidence.
“I kissed him once more, prayed and pleaded for forgiveness,” Meiwes told the court.
He said he froze some of the dismembered body parts, eating the flesh over the following months, and buried others in the garden.
Police who searched Meiwes’ home found human flesh and bones.
Court-appointed psychiatrists found Meiwes fit to stand trial.
Prosecutors say the killing was sexually motivated and filed murder charges, despite concluding that the killing had the victim’s consent.
Meiwes’ attorney argued against murder charges, saying the slaying was a form of mercy killing.
Meiwes faces life in prison if convicted of murder.
“My friend enjoyed the dying, his death,” Meiwes was quoted saying recently by a local newspaper.
Seeking to bolster his claim that he acted according to the wishes of others, Meiwes testified that he had at least five other respondents to his Internet ads at his home but let them go — including a teacher who offered himself as a “devoted pig for slaughter.”
Another man wanted to act out his fantasy of slaughtering co-workers. When Meiwes suspended him from a pulley-and-rope device set up in his home as part of the role playing, the man got sick and left after being freed, Meiwes said.
A man who said he wanted to be beheaded also showed up, but Meiwes said he sent him away because he was too fat and not talkative enough.
Police tracked down and arrested Meiwes last December after a student in Austria alerted them to an advertisement Meiwes placed on the Internet seeking a man willing to be killed and eaten.
Thirty-eight witnesses are slated to testify in the trial. A verdict is expected in February.