Neo-Nazi Gunman Who Attacked German Synagogue on Yom Kippur Is Fully Culpable, Expert Tells Trial
The German neo-Nazi who carried out a gun attack on Yom Kippur services at a synagogue in the city of Halle in October 2019 was not suffering from a pathological disorder and was fully responsible for his act, an expert psychologist said in court on Wednesday.
The gunman, Stephan Balliet, murdered two people — a passerby and a customer in a nearby kebab restaurant — after failing to penetrate the security doors of the Halle synagogue, where more than 50 worshipers were holding Yom Kippur prayers inside the sanctuary.
Speaking at 28-year-old Balliet’s trial at a court in the city of Magdeburg, psychologist Norbert Leygraf said that Balliet suffered from a “complex personality disorder” alongside “features of autism.”
But Leygraf was not convinced that Balliet exhibited pathological tendencies.
He said that Balliet had carried out his preparations for the attack “meticulously.” Balliet’s ideological views had been formed through contact with like-minded extremists on the internet, supplying him with a worldview in which “xenophobic beliefs and paranoid conspiracy theories are combined with antisemitism.”
Leygraf concluded that Balliet was completely culpable for his act and that there was no reason to diminish his culpability from a “psychiatric point of view.”
Balliet’s trial began in July amid renewed concern over growing antisemitism in Germany.
Government statistics revealed that the number of antisemitic crimes committed in Germany rose by 13 percent in 2019.