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Germany

Father of Winnenden school shooter convicted for involuntary manslaughter

A German court has given the father of a 17-year-old student who killed 15 people at his school four years ago a suspended sentence for involuntary manslaughter. This was the second time the case has been heard.

The court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart on Friday found 54-year-old Jörg K. guilty of 15 counts of involuntary manslaughter and 14 counts of negligence causing bodily harm in connection with the March 2009 shooting spree.

It also handed him an 18-month suspended sentence for failing to lock away the semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting as required by law. Instead, Jörg K.,who had a permit to own the weapon, had stored it in an unlocked closet in a bedroom, thus allowing his teenage son easy access.

The court in the original trial had given him a 21-month suspended sentence, but Germany's supreme court ordered a retrial due to a technicality.

In the second trial, which began last November, his legal defense team had argued that he should be spared a conviction due to the fact that he had lost his son in the tragedy almost four years ago.

Following the deadly shooting spree in a school in the southern town of Winnenden and nearby Wendlingen, 17-year-old Tim. K turned the gun on himself.

Late last year, the German government established a national firearms registry in a move meant to help prevent such shootings in future. According to the registry there are 5.5 million weapons owned legally by 1.4 million people.

All European Union countries are required to set up such a registry by 2015.

pfd/msh (dpa, dapd, AFP)