A youth soccer coach is on trial accused of stalking a 13-year-old boy before killing him along with his mother, brother and brother’s girlfriend.
The brutal slayings of the boy, his 48-year-old mother Carla Schauer, her 19-year-old son Dion and Dion’s 21-year-old girlfriend Simona F. on December 21, 2015, shocked Switzerland.
It led to the highest ever reward – 100,000 CHF – being offered to catch the killer, who allegedly set the family’s home on fire to cover up his crimes.
On Tuesday, a man identified only as Thomas N. because of Swiss privacy rules went on trial for murder.
On Tuesday, a man identified only as Thomas N. (pictured) because of Swiss privacy rules went on trial for murder
Prosecutors in the northern canton (state) of Aargau also accuse the 34-year-old Swiss defendant of extortion, kidnapping, hostage taking, raping the 13-year-old boy, arson and possessing thousands of pictures and videos showing child sex abuse.
The court heard he set his sights on the 13-year-old boy, who lived just 500 metres from him in the town of Rupperswil, and stalked the family to learn their habits.
Prosecutors believe the suspect acted out of financial and sexual motives.
On the day of the attack, shortly before Christmas, he allegedly waited until the family’s father left the property.
According to investigators, he tricked his way into the Schauers’ home, and made the mother bind and gag the other victims before forcing her to withdraw about $11,000, police captain Markus Gisin said at the time.
The brutal slayings of the boy, his 48-year-old mother Carla Schauer (with her children, above), her 19-year-old son Dion and Dion’s 21-year-old girlfriend shocked Switzerland
According to investigators, the suspect tricked his way into the Schauers’ home, and made the mother (pictured) bind and gag the other victims before forcing her to withdraw about $11,000
After she returned, the suspect tied her up, raped the younger son, killed all four by cutting their throats and set fire to the house, Gisin said.
As an excuse to approach the family, Thomas N. allegedly made himself a business card saying: ‘Dr Sebastian Meier, School Psychologist.’
He also had a fictitious letter from the school about a student’s bullying-induced suicide.
When he rang the door, he was carrying a backpack filled with handcuffs, a knife, electric lighter, tape, gloves, mouth mask and sex toys, according to the indictment.
After the murders, prosecutors say he went home, took a shower and even went for a walk with his mother and dogs.
That evening, he went with colleagues to a restaurant and casino in Zurich.
He is said to have used the stolen money to splash out on designer clothing and a skiing trip and bought his mother a holiday as a birthday present.
As an excuse to approach the family, Thomas N. allegedly made himself a business card saying: ‘Dr Sebastian Meier, School Psychologist.’ Pictured, Carla Schauer and her son Dion
Exterior view of a police building of the cantonal police of Aargau in Schafisheim, Switzerland, where the quadruple murder trial at the Lenzburg District Court takes place
Fingerprints and DNA tied the suspect to the scene of the crime in Rupperswil, about 30km west of Zurich, and prosecutors said at the time that he confessed under questioning.
They also said he had no previous convictions or connections to the victims.
Prosecutors also say he was ready to strike again when he was caught, having the names of 11 boys aged between 11 and 14 written in a notebook found by investigators.
One of them he had shadowed one day prior to his arrest and allegedly noted down: ‘Tue 7:40 all at home, awake.’
Investigators say they found a backpack with tools suitable for carrying out a similar crime and another letter identifying him as a school psychologist in Thomas N.’s possession.
It is also claimed that he had downloaded more than 1,000 videos and more 10,000 photographs of child pornography since 2011.
Media representatives stand in front of a police building of the cantonal police of Aargau
He is said to have falsified documents including his Bachelor of Science degree at Lucerne University and his Master’s degree.
To his mother, he reportedly lied that he was working on a PhD at Bern University.
Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported that the defendant, during Tuesday’s proceedings, said he wanted to one day look after his mother, and was hoping to start a distance-learning course in economics in prison.
‘My goal is to someday be back in society and re-socialized,’ he was quoted as saying.
Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger reported that the suspect envisaged himself in the distant future seated at a fireplace with a dog at his side.
The trial is being held in the neighboring town of Schafisheim, and is expected to last until Friday.
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