ST. POELTEN (Austria): In a stunning turn of events, an Austrian on trial for imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and fathering her seven children pleaded guilty on Wednesday to all charges against him — including negligent homicide — after hearing his daughter’s heart-wrenching testimony.
“I declare myself guilty to the charges in the indictment,” Josef Fritzl (73) told a panel of judges, referring at one point to what he called “my sick behaviour.”
Fritzl faces up to life imprisonment on the negligent homicide count, which he initially had contested along with an enslavement charge. Prosecutors also had charged him with rape, incest, forced imprisonment and coercion.
Asked by the presiding judge what had led him to change his mind, Fritzl said it was the videotaped testimony from his daughter.
Now 42, Fritzl’s daughter was 18 when he imprisoned her in the cramped, windowless cell he built beneath the family’s home in the town of Amstetten. The negligent homicide charge came for the death of an infant twin boy — Michael — born to Elisabeth in April 1996 who prosecutors say might have survived with proper medical care had he and his mother not been locked in the basement. — AP