Murder of Walter Lübcke

The murder of Walter Lübcke occurred on 2 June 2019 in Wolfhagen-Istha, Germany, near the city of Kassel. Lübcke, the head of the public administration of the Kassel region, was killed in front of his home by a shot to the head at close range. On 15 June 2019, right-wing extremist Stephan Ernst was arrested as the prime suspect. On 25 June 2019, he made a confession, which was recanted on 2 July 2019. Ernst was convicted of murder on 28 January 2021.[1]

Murder of Walter Lübcke
Walter Lübcke
Date2 June 2019
LocationIstha [de], Germany
TypeShooting, assassination, domestic terrorism
MotiveFar-right extremism
DeathsWalter Lübcke
ConvictedStephan Ernst

Lübcke had spoken out for the admittance of refugees and had opposed agitation against them by the local offshoot of the far-right political movement Pegida at a public meeting in October 2015. He subsequently received numerous death threats for many years.

Lübcke's murder and its background and consequences started a broad public debate in Germany, due to which right-wing terrorism, executed by Combat 18 and related fascist organizations and individuals, received more scrutiny. The debate concerns the German security authorities' knowledge of the suspects, the possible co-responsibility of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) for the murder, the relationship of the major political party Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) with the AfD, increasingly frequent attacks on local politicians, and the lack of prosecution of hate crimes in social networking services and social media.

Shooting and death


On 2 June 2019, Lübcke was found dead on the terrace of his residence in the village of Istha [de], which is part of the town of Wolfhagen. He had been shot in the head at close range with an illegally owned Rossi .38 revolver.[2] On 15 June 2019, 45-year-old suspect Stephan Ernst was arrested.



Ernst was born in 1973 in Wiesbaden and grew up in Holzhausen, a part of the town of Hohenstein (Untertaunus) since 1984.[3] He is married and the father of two children and lived in the eastern part of Kassel.[4]

At the time of Lübcke's murder, Ernst was already known to have held extreme right-wing political views and to have had connections to the German branch of the neo-Nazi terrorist group Combat 18 (C18). He also had connections to the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)[5] parties.

Ernst had been previously convicted for knife and bomb attacks against targets connected to ethnic minorities in Germany.[6][7][8]

After Ernst retracted his confession, he was formally charged with murder on 29 April 2020 and went on trial for the crime in June, along with his alleged accomplice Markus H.[9][10] Ernst was convicted on 28 January 2021 and sentenced to life imprisonment. The court decreed a "special gravity" of guilt for Ernst, extending his parole ineligibility. As such, he will have to serve a minimum of 22 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole, rather than the 15-to-life sentence typically imposed for murder in German law. As German law allows up to 25 years as a minimum term, it was considered near the high end of gravity.[11] Markus H. was acquitted of accessory to murder but convicted of illegal gun possession, for which he received an 18-month suspended sentence.[12][13]

See also



  1. ^ "Neo-Nazi convicted of murder of German regional governor". Die Welt. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  2. ^ Schmid, Fidelius; Wiedmann-Schmidt, Wolf; Winter, Steffen (16 July 2019). "Mordfall Walter Lübcke: Schussgutachter belasten mutmaßlichen Täter schwer". Der Spiegel.
  3. ^ C. Brause et al.: Mordfall Lübcke: Kindheit in Springerstiefeln. Die Welt, 24 June 2019 (kostenpflichtig)
  4. ^ Mordfall Walter Lübcke: Was wir über den Tatverdächtigen wissen. Spiegel Online, 26 June 2019
  5. ^ "Father, Neighbor, Killer: Germany's Chilling New Far-Right Terror". DER SPIEGEL. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Suspect in German politician's murder 'has links to far right'". The Guardian. Agence France-Presse. 16 June 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  7. ^ Wienand, Lars (17 June 2019). "Getöteter Politiker Walter Lübcke: Bundesanwaltschaft geht von rechtsextremem Anschlag aus". T-Online (in German). Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Erschossener CDU-Politiker Lübcke: Verdächtiger hatte offenbar Kontakt zu militanten Neonazis von "Combat 18"". Spiegel Online (in German). 17 June 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Prosecutors charge neo-Nazi with German politician's murder". AP NEWS. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  10. ^ Agency, Reuters News (16 June 2020). "Neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst goes on trial for killing CDU politician Walter Luebcke". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2020. {{cite news}}: |first1= has generic name (help)
  11. ^ "Neo-Nazi found guilty in murder of German politician – DW – 01/28/2021". Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Neo-Nazi convicted of murder of German regional governor". Die Welt. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  13. ^,Ma%C3%9Fregel%20der%20Besserung%20und%20Sicherung.