American man accused of attacking two recent University of Illinois graduates near German castle – NBC Bay Area
An American man has been charged with murder and other crimes for attacking two recent University of Illinois graduates near Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany in June and pushing them into a ravine, fatally wounding one of them, prosecutors said Thursday.
The indictment against the 31-year-old suspect, whose name has not been revealed in line with German privacy rules, has been submitted to the state court in Kempten, which will have to decide whether and when to take the case to trial.
He faces charges of murder, rape with fatal consequences, attempted murder and possession of child pornography. The maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment in Germany.
The attack occurred on June 14 near the Marienbrück Bridge, a bridge over a strait near the castle that provides a popular view of Neuschwanstein, one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions.
Although German officials have not released the names of the victims due to privacy rules, family and community members in Illinois have identified the two women as recent graduates of the University of Illinois.
The woman who survived the attack has been identified as 22-year-old Kelsey Zhang of Normal, Illinois, and the woman who was killed has been identified as 21-year-old Eva Liu of Naperville, Illinois.
Prosecutors say the suspect met the tourists, ages 21 and 22, by chance on a hiking trail and lured them off the trail. He first apparently threw the younger woman to the ground and tried to remove her clothes, they said in a statement.
When the elderly woman tried to help her, a fight broke out and the suspect pushed her down a steep slope. She fell about 50 meters (165 feet) and suffered a head injury, bruises and scrapes, but survived.
The suspect then strangled the younger woman until she lost consciousness and raped her, before pushing her down the slope as well, prosecutors said. she died.
Prosecutors said they obtained a laptop and cell phones from the suspect that contained child sexual abuse material.
Authorities say the two women did not know the man before they met near Neuschwanstein. The suspect was arrested shortly after the attack.
Neuschwanstein, located near the Austrian border, is the most famous castle built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the nineteenth century, and is considered an attraction for tourists from all over the world.
(tags for translation)Naperville