BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Tuesday convicted the suspect in last year’s attack on the Borussia Dortmund soccer team’s bus of attempted murder and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.
The Dortmund state court found the defendant, who has been identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy rules, guilty of 28 counts of attempted murder and setting off an explosion, news agency dpa reported.
Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured when three explosions hit the team’s bus as it left a hotel in the city of Dortmund for a Champions League game on April 11, 2017.
Tuesday’s verdict ended an 11-month trial that featured testimony from players and then-coach Thomas Tuchel.
Prosecutors alleged that W. took out a loan to place a bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares would drop in value, then bombed the bus and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism. Dortmund is the only German soccer club whose shares are listed on the stock exchange.
The blasts shattered a window of the bus and hit Bartra with shrapnel, leaving the team without the Spanish defender for about a month after he had to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his wrist.
The verdict fell short of prosecutors’ call for a life sentence. However, defense lawyers had argued that W. should be convicted only of setting off an explosion and given a much lower sentence.
In January, the defendant testified that he carried out the attack but didn’t intend to kill or hurt anyone. The 29-year-old, a German citizen who came to the country from Russia at 13, told the court that he was trying to fake an attack and designed the explosives in such a way “that no harm to people could be expected.”
The suspect was arrested 10 days after the attack.
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