BERLIN (AP) — A German man has gone on trial accused of attempted murder for driving his car into crowds on New Year’s Day, injuring 14 people.
Prosecutors accuse the 50-year-old defendant of intentionally targeting people he believed to be foreigners. A 46-year-old Syrian woman received life-threatening injuries in the rampage.
But lawyers for the man, whose name wasn’t released for privacy reasons, told the Essen regional court Friday that their client suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed the people he drove into were about to carry out an attack.
Due to the man’s mental illness it’s likely he wouldn’t face prison if convicted, but judges could instead order him held in a secure psychiatric ward indefinitely.