Stephan Ernst has been sentenced to life in prison for killing politician Walter Luebcke from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party after he talked in favour of refugees in an event in 2019.

Main defendant Stephan Ernst, right, talks to his his lawyer Mustafa Kaplan, left, in the courtroom at the higher regional court in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 28, 2021.
Main defendant Stephan Ernst, right, talks to his his lawyer Mustafa Kaplan, left, in the courtroom at the higher regional court in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 28, 2021. (AP)

A far-right extremist in Germany has been convicted 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 on Thursday 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 favour of helping refugees. 

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Murdered after supporting refugees

Prosecutors said Ernst had attended a 2015 town hall event where the politician had 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 and he died hours later.

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

An accomplice, who prosecutors alleged was with Ernst at the scene of the crime, identified only as Markus H. due to German privacy laws, was convicted of weapons violations and sentenced to 18 months probation.

H. had been charged with accessory to murder, but his attorney argued he was not involved and he was only found guilty of the lesser charge.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies