German court jails Swedish 'laser man' racist killer for life

AFP
A German court handed a life prison term to a convicted killer – dubbed "the laser man" for using a laser-scoped rifle to target immigrants – for the murder of a Jewish woman.
AFP

A German court yesterday handed a life prison term to a Swedish convicted killer — dubbed “the laser man” for using a laser-scoped rifle to target immigrants — for the murder of a Jewish woman.

John Ausonius, 64, has already been behind bars for years after he received a life sentence in Sweden for a six-month shooting spree in 1991-92 in which he killed one immigrant and wounded 10.

The convict, who was extradited to Germany in late 2016, was yesterday also found guilty of the murder of 68-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor Blanka Zmigrod in Frankfurt in 1992.

In a sign of Ausonius’s notoriety, Norwegian white supremacist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik at his own trial had mentioned the “Lasermannen” or “laser man” as a figure who shared the same goals.

Ausonius, having now received life terms in two countries, is almost certain to spend the rest of his life behind bars without parole as the German court stressed that he is a danger to society.

Born as Wolfgang Alexander Zaugg in Sweden to a German mother and a Swiss father, Ausonius was reportedly bullied at school.

He is said to have rejected his foreign origins and developed a strong hatred for immigrants.

He would dye his dark hair a lighter shade and wear blue contact lenses to appear like a “real Swede.”

When he obtained Swedish citizenship as a young adult, he changed his name twice, finally to Ausonius after a Roman poet.

Ausonius, diagnosed with a personality disorder, at various times worked odd jobs, studied chemistry, served in the military, lived on the streets, grew wealthy by trading stocks and bonds and plunged back into homelessness.

Displaying a pattern of antisocial behavior and violent outbursts, he went on to commit a string of bank robberies.

His spate of racist gun attacks started when he fired at a 27-year-old Eritrean student in August 1991, wounding him.

Ausonius later killed the 34-year-old Iranian Jimmy Ranjbar with a shot to the head.

He badly injured another nine victims from countries including Brazil, Greece, Syria and Zimbabwe, in his shooting spree, which went on until January 1992.

The court has now found that Ausonius also committed the Frankfurt murder in February 1992, months before he was arrested in June back in Stockholm after another bank robbery.

Zmigrod, the Frankfurt victim, was born in Poland, survived several Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz, and later lived in Israel before moving to Germany in 1960, according to a Swedish documentary.

Investigators have not established whether her murder was motivated in part by anti-Semitism.

German prosecutors said Ausonius was seen arguing with the woman, a hotel restaurant wardrobe attendant, 36 hours before her death, accusing her of having stolen an electronic device belonging to him.

He killed her near her home with a close-range shot to the head and took her handbag.



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