Conviction in Groningen movie theater double murder; No prison time
The court in Groningen sentenced Ergün S. to institutionalized psychiatric treatment on Tuesday for stabbing a couple to death at a cinema in Groningen on October 26 last year. The victims, 55-year-old Gina and 56-year-old Marinus Visser, were working as cleaners at the cinema when they were attacked.
S. was convicted of manslaughter with the court saying it did not see evidence the crimes were premeditated. "The [psychiatric[ experts have come to the conclusion that S., who is suffering from a serious psychiatric illness, was in psychosis at the time of these events and was completely controlled by his delusions," the court said.
His mandatory institutionalization has no maximum duration. He was not ordered to serve additional prison time.
The victims were blindsided by S. at the Pathe cinema on Gedempte Zuiderdiep. The 34-year-old man from Rotterdam stabbed the woman first, and then her husband, who came to the noise. Most of the attack was recorded on surveillance camera. The victims' bodies were found a short time later. S. was arrested in Groningen the next day.
A large part of the trial against S. was dedicated to assessing his mental state at the time of the stabbings. S. described his mental illness in court, saying that he went from euphoric to depressed and back. He sometimes thought that he was in the game Fornite, and sometimes thought that a tram in Rotterdam was his friend.
He said that he went to Groningen to look for his daughter, whose mother fled with her for fear of their safety. S. thought that he was in telepathic contact with the girl. He had visions of elite troops putting his daughter in danger and supernatural beings abducting her to the North Pole, he said.
Mental health experts determined that S. is not accountable for the crimes, and said he should be declared insane. The Public Prosecutor therefore also demanded treatment for the man. He had stopped taking his medication and was smoking large quantities of cannabis, the experts said, and his decision to stop his prescribed medication was "not a conscious choice."
A prison term is not possible because of this, the court said, even considering the seriousness of the case and the consequences to next of kin. "The court does agree with the experts that it is urgent for the protection of society that the treatment of S. is compulsory."