Case of Jakob von Metzler: That became of his murderer Magnus Gäfgen

The banker’s son Jakob von Metzler was kidnapped and murdered by Magnus Gäfgen 20 years ago. What is the perpetrator doing today?

It was September 27, 2002 and the last day before fall break. The 11-year-old son of a banker, Jakob von Metzler, was on his way home from school when he was met by Magnus Gäfgen (28), who he knew from youth camps. The debt-ridden law student then lured him into his apartment, where he suffocated the boy with duct tape. He hid Jakob’s body under a jetty.

He then demanded a ransom of one million euros from the boy’s parents, who assumed that their son was still alive. During the nightly handover, Magnus Gäfgen was caught by the police. In addition to Friedrich von Metzler (69) and his wife Sylvia, he initially left the officials in the dark about the fact that he had already killed the student.

Julia Siefert-Winter was with a murderer - that's how she feels today

Julia Siefert-Winter was with a murderer. In the video you can see how she is doing today.
© © Instagram/juliasiefertwinte;

How far can cops go? Magnus Gäfgen’s interrogation sparked debate

Only later did it become known that the officers had threatened Magnus Gäfgen with torture during the interrogation. With the warning that otherwise he would be “inflicted with pain such as he has never experienced before”, the police wanted to find out the whereabouts of the boy in the hope of finding him there alive. In addition to the murder trial, another trial arose about the powers of the investigators responsible at the time. Above all this was the question, which is still much discussed today: How far can investigators go to protect the life of a child?

In 2003 Magnus Gäfgen was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Frankfurt Regional Court. In the years that followed, the convicted child killer went before several courts and requested a retrial. He referred to the threat of torture and therefore protested that he had not received a fair trial. In addition, Gäfgen still insists on compensation for the trauma he suffered as a result of the threat of torture – so far without success.

Jakob von Metzler
© picture alliance / dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

Magnus Gäfgen’s application for a suspended sentence was rejected

After 15 years in prison, the murderer of the banker’s son Jakob von Metzler applied for a suspended sentence in 2018, also without success. At the request, a psychiatric expert classified Gäfgen as still dangerous in 2018 and, according to FOCUS, spoke out against suspending the sentence on probation. According to FOCUS, the expert Stolpmann comes to the conclusion in his 72-page report that Gäfgen’s dangerousness has not changed even years after the murder.

It is true that he behaved inconspicuously during his detention. However, it cannot be deduced from this that he no longer posed any risks. The convict has not yet sufficiently worked through the act, its history and the motives, the report goes on to say. From a psychiatric-psychological point of view, no positive development can be identified in Gäfgen’s case, according to the expert.

According to FOCUS, however, he classifies the probability that Gäfgen could be guilty of murder again as relatively low. However, there is an increased risk of other crimes. For this reason, the socio-therapeutic treatment had to be continued indefinitely.

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Jakob von Metzler’s murderer is in the same prison as the Rothenburg cannibal

So Magnus Gäfgen continues to serve his sentence in the social therapy institution Wehlheiden off. Armin Meiwes (60), who was also known to the public as the cannibal of Rothenburg, has been sitting there next to him for around 20 years. On March 10, 2001, Meiwes killed the engineer Bernd Jürgen Brandes († 43), severed his penis and ate it. He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.