American man jailed for life over rape and murder of tourist near German castle

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows Neuschwanstein Castle, following a police report of an attack, near Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, June 15, 2023. REUTERS/Ayhan Uyanik/File Photo

By Ayhan Uyanik and Louisa Off

KEMPTEN, Germany (Reuters) – An American man was sentenced to life in prison by a German court on Monday for the rape and murder of a tourist and the attempted murder of her friend, both from the U.S., in a brutal attack near the country’s most famous tourist destination.

The attack in June attracted worldwide attention because of the presence of so many visitors at Neuschwanstein Castle, who photographed and streamed the scene as the women were taken by helicopter to hospital.

The man, a 31-year-old tourist from Michigan, identified by the court as Troy B., befriended the two women near the Maria Bridge, which offers a picture-postcard view of the fairytale castle in Bavaria, before luring them away from the public path with the promise of an even better vantage point.

There, in the rugged landscape near the castle, he throttled and raped the 21-year-old woman and threw her 22-year-old friend down a 100-metre ravine when she rushed to help her. The elder of the pair survived with severe injuries, after being caught on a tree branch.

The 21-year-old was also tossed over the ledge after Troy B. raped her. She died in hospital several hours later. The court found that the strangling alone would have been fatal.

At one point the man used his phone, which prosecutors found full of violent pornography, to film himself strangling her with his belt.

The man was caught later the same day after a massive police search.

“He used her as an object and threw her over the ledge like an object he no longer needed,” said the prosecutor while summing up the case against Troy B., according to public broadcaster BR.

The judge at the court in Kempten, southern Germany, sentenced the man to life imprisonment, noting that the crime was one of “particular gravity” – a finding that means the perpetrator will not receive automatic parole after 15 years as is the case for non-aggravated murder.

The man did not contest the charge of murdering the 21-year-old, but did seek a finding that the murder was not aggravated.

The conviction can be appealed, and B. can apply to serve his sentence in the U.S., though his lawyer said he had advised the defendant not to do so, since conditions of detention in Germany were better.

Neuschwanstein Castle, about 105 km (65 miles) southwest of Munich, is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, attracting some 1.4 million visitors a year.


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