A German middle school teacher was accused in court on Tuesday of murdering, dismembering, and eating a man he met on a gay dating website last year.
The accused, identified only as Stefan R., allegedly lured Stefan Trogisch, a 44-year-old electrical construction worker, to his apartment in Berlin last year on September 5 for the purpose of killing and eating him, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Trogish was reported missing by his flatmates a short time later after he failed to return home.
Pieces of Trogisch’s fleshless skeletal remains were found in various locations throughout the greater Berlin area later that fall. After a leg bone was discovered by a passerby in a park last November 8, police used specially trained dogs which led police from the area where the body parts were found to the apartment of Stefan R. There, police found a bloody bone saw and chemicals that are used to dissolve flesh. Stefan R. was not immediately arrested, but was taken into custody a short time later after forensic analysis of the evidence discovered in his apartment indicated that he was responsible for the murder and dismemberment of Trogisch. Police alleged they found bite marks on at least one of the bones.
At court on Tuesday, Stefan R. hid his face behind a folder as the prosecutors laid out their case against the 41-year-old middle school math and chemistry teacher. The main charge against him is “sexual murder with a base motive.”
“The accused killed the victim because he sought sexual satisfaction through the killing and wanted to eat parts of the corpse,” the prosecution said during the trial.
Prosecutors reported Stefan R. had participated in online cannibal forums using the name “Masterbutcher79” and had made multiple searches online on the subject. Bild reported he once searched to determine if a man could survive having his penis cut off. They also have messages between the two men showing they agreed to meet, but prosecutors said they have no reason to believe Trogish was a willing participant in his murder and the later cannibalism of his body.
The case is reminiscent of Armin Meiwis, known as the “Master Butcher of Rotenburg” and the “Cannibal of Rotenburg,” who had killed and cannibalized Bernd Juergen Brandes in 2001. The victim, in that case, had posted an ad asking for someone to “obliterate his life and leave no trace.” Meiwis was initially convicted of manslaughter, but that verdict was rejected by the courts and he was later convicted of murder at a second trial.
Last year, Chance Seneca, a 19-year-old Jeffrey Dahmer fan in Louisiana, allegedly drugged then tried to amputate the hands of Holden White, 19, who he met on Grindr. The attack left White partially paralyzed and emotionally traumatized. He described a harrowing experience, waking up naked in Seneca’s bathtub, bleeding from multiple stab wounds to his neck as the young sadist was trying to saw off White’s hand at the wrist.
“The water is running, and it's cold,” White recalled last year from the hospital. “He is in the process of doing my left wrist. He was slicing it like this and was very, very hard. It was to the point that he was basically trying to cut off my hands.”
In Berlin yesterday, the New York Post reported that a lawyer for the family said they simply “want to know what happened to their son” and that “they don’t expect Stefan R. to justify himself or try to apologize.”
The trial was halted yesterday after defense lawyers claimed they had not been given full access to the evidence against their client.