IAt the trial of the murdered six-year-old Joel, the 15-year-old accused of the killing partially confessed. The Neubrandenburg District Court said he made a partial confession in the case for the first time on Thursday. He allegedly beat and stabbed Joel last September in the municipality of Pragsdorf in the Mecklenburg Lake District.

Based on the defendant's testimony, additional evidence was needed, the court said. It set three additional hearing dates: 17 and 23 April and 2 May. The extensive gathering of evidence – according to the court, approximately 50 witnesses have been questioned since February – had already necessitated the appointment of additional meetings.

Before Thursday's date, the court had actually already said that the judgment would be announced on a separate date that is yet to be determined. The trial ended Thursday afternoon without two experts — including a psychiatric expert — having testified as originally scheduled. The trial will be held behind closed doors.

Surprises are repeated during the process

The violent death of six-year-old Joel last September sent shockwaves across the country. The State Prosecutor's Office accuses 14-year-old Joel of hitting Joel several times in the face and stabbing him seven times with a knife with a blade of about 15 centimeters during the commission of the crime. The boy died, which the defendant, according to the state prosecutor, at least approved. According to earlier information, the young man had been involved in conflicts, and his DNA trace was also found on the murder suspect.

The brutal act is said to have taken place in the bushes of a football field in a small village in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Months later, angel figures, mementos and a larger cross stood where Joel died.

There have been several surprises during the trial, which has been ongoing since February. At the beginning, it became known that the State Prosecutor's Office is also investigating the defendant's 17-year-old brother. The Neubrandenburg prosecutor's office said the investigation was related to the case, but did not release details.

In the meantime, the defendant had been released from custody because, according to him, the court saw no reason to arrest him. The public prosecutor's office filed an objection and the higher district court of Rostock overturned the decision. Joel's family lawyer had clearly criticized the Neubrandenburg District Court and made it clear in his statement that the trial was “very much on the verge of judicial bias”.

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