Fire in amusement arcade: Ex-employee charged with attempted murder

A former employee is accused of starting a fire in an amusement arcade. Now she has to answer for nine attempted murder before the Ulm Regional Court. But why is this an attempted murder and what punishment does the 42-year-old accused have to expect if convicted?

Fire in amusement arcade

The ex-employee is accused of deliberately causing a fire in the arcade where she worked herself. The aim of the defendants is said to have been to cover up thefts she had previously committed. The act took place at the end of September last year. The second day of negotiations has now ended. The evidence seems to be anything but clear.

Woman is said to have set fire to amusement arcade near Ulm
In the small town of Ehingen (Donau) in Baden-Württemberg, a fire broke out in an amusement arcade on September 29, 2020 at around 4 a.m. Fortunately, nobody was injured and the property damage was limited, as the fire accelerator used was quickly used up. More precisely, the fire damage is estimated at around 5,000 euros.

The prosecutor assumes that a 42-year-old woman who herself worked in the arcade is responsible for the fire. Accordingly, the defendant set the fire willfully in order to cover up previous thefts. The woman had embezzled change from the gambling hall several times in the past. Since she feared that her actions could attract attention if she came to the arcade that night, took conclusive accounting documents with her and then started the fire.

Allegation: attempted murder nine times

What is special about this case is that the accused is charged not only with serious arson, but also attempted murder in nine cases. This is because nine people lived in the building above the arcade at the time of the crime. With the fire she at least accepted the death of these people with approval.

The police fire investigators were able to find a lighted carpet on site. The use of fire accelerators could also be verified on site. Just a week after the crime, the police had a success in the investigation: The now accused woman was arrested.

The reason for the quick arrest was a video evidence from the arcade. Here you could see a woman in the premises first handling a canister and then setting a liquid on fire. However, the evidential value of the video was questioned by the court in advance due to its poor quality.

The defendant faces life imprisonment

If convicted, the accused faces life imprisonment. She is charged not only with nine attempted murder, but also with attempted aggravated arson and theft.

In § 211 StGB it says:

  • Section 1: The murderer is sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • Section 2: Whoever is a murderer

(…) kills a person insidiously or cruelly or by means that are dangerous to the public or to make another criminal act possible or to cover it up ”.

In this case, the last-mentioned murder criterion could be fulfilled, since the accused is accused of having set the fire to cover up another crime (theft).

Defense criticizes investigative work and demands acquittal
The defense attorney for the 42-year-old defendant is of the opinion that the police and the public prosecutor’s office were too one-sided. For example, the investigating authorities paid no attention to the exonerating cell phone data evaluation. The theft of change was also not proven to his client. Therefore, the defense will work towards an acquittal.

After the second day of the trial, the evidence is indeed far from clear. So far it has been difficult for the court to clarify the question of guilt. There is a lack of “real” evidence. The process is more likely to be conducted based on circumstantial evidence. The verdict is expected in early March. So far, the defendant has not commented on the charge. She is currently still in custody.


The ex-employee is silent on the allegation and has been in custody since her arrest a week after the crime. It is questionable whether the evidence available will be sufficient to convince the court of the guilt of the accused. It is also possible to deny the attempted murder, so that ultimately, for example, only the attempted arson or theft would be punished. A complete acquittal is also possible. The verdict is expected in March. Fortunately, no people were injured in the act. The property damage is also manageable.

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