‘Beast of Rupperswil’ killer remains eligible for release

An artist's impression of the convicted killer (left) during his conviction in court in March. © KEYSTONE / SIBYLLE HEUSSER

A quadruple killer, dubbed the ‘Beast of Rupperswil’, will remain eligible for release from prison if he is no longer deemed a threat to society. An appeals court in Switzerland has rejected a plea from state prosecutors that the 35-year-old should never be set free again.

This content was published on December 13, 2018 - 12:55

The verdict on Thursday means the convicted murderer can be assessed for release after serving 20 years behind bars. According to the law, an accused may only be detained for life if two independent experts have declared him to be permanently untreatable by therapists. But in this case psychiatrists have not delivered such an opinion.

The appeal court upheld the “indeterminate” prison sentence handed down in March of this year. In practice, this means the convicted man must serve at least 20 years behind bars.

In one of the most gruesome criminal cases in Swiss history, the man entered a home in northern Switzerland and viciously killed a woman, her two sons, and a girlfriend of one of the sons. After raping the 13-year-old son, the perpetrator slaughtered each of his victims. He was eventually arrested in May 2016 in a café and accused of murder, extortion, kidnapping, hostage-taking, sexual acts on a minor, sexual constraint, arson, and pornography.

The accused confessed to the murders, and his fingerprints and DNA were found at the crime scene. He acted alone, did not know his victims, and had a clean criminal record.

The trial of the quadruple murderer reignited the debate on lifelong imprisonment in Switzerland, where “life” doesn't necessarily mean “until death”, and dangerous repeat offenders sometimes walk free.

Cases have arisen of dangerous criminals being set free after serving their sentence, only to commit further crimes.

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