Ungewöhnliche Beweisfragen in Einem Fall von Offensiver Leichenzerstückelung

Translated title of the contribution: Unusual questions of evidence in a case of offensive post-mortem dismemberment

Burkhard Madea*, Peter Schmidt, Johanna Preuß, Dietmar Elenz

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


In cases of post-mortem dismemberment, the main medicolegal task apart from the identification and assignment of body parts to one or several individuals is the determination of the cause of death and the course of events. Notably in cases of offensive postmortem dismemberment, the medicolegal findings on the victim may be of special importance also for the psychiatric evaluation of the suspect. In a case of offensive post-mortem dismemberment, parts of the body were found in a stone quarry and in the apartment where the victim and the suspect had lived together. Since the suspect refused to make a statement, the medicolegal findings were of great relevance for the psychiatric evaluation. In the first trial, in which the psychiatric expert was not present when the forensic pathologist gave his opinion, the Regional Court acquitted the suspect of murder and committed him to a psychiatric hospital. The accused successfully appealed on points of law, as the form and content of the psychiatric expert opinion did not comply with the requirements of procedural law and the forensic psychiatric state of the art. In a second trial, additional psychiatric experts were summoned. In that hearing, the task of the medicolegal expert was to reconstruct the course of events as far as possible to create a reliable basis for the psychiatric evaluation, as the suspect refused to make a statement both with regard to his personal circumstances and the facts of the case and did not agree to a psychiatric exploration either. The motivational and morphological criteria of the medicolegal classification as offensive post-mortem dismemberment with a cannibalistic background are discussed. In addition, some issues to be answered such as the detection of bloodstains on nonporous surfaces by means of leucocrystalviolet and the time of heat exposure of burned body parts are dealt with.

Translated title of the contributionUnusual questions of evidence in a case of offensive post-mortem dismemberment
Original languageGerman
JournalArchiv fur Kriminologie
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)46-60
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 01.2010


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