Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bait and Switch: The Cannibal Crimes of Joachim Kroll

The Trial

Joachim Kroll
Joachim Kroll

Little has been written about the actual trial of Joachim Kroll, but it seems from its inordinate length that there must have been glitches.  While in custody, Kroll stated that he hoped to receive a surgical procedure that would cure him of his sexual compulsions, because he hoped to be made safe so he could be released from prison.  However, he forgot about punishment and retribution, and he was soon charged with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.  Although he'd confessed to thirteen murders and one attempt (and suspected in more of both), it was difficult to work up evidence for several of the incidents so long after the fact.  Some crimes were two decades old.


The trial, with all its media fanfare, took up one hundred and fifty-one days of courtroom time, from the initial attorney statements to the jury finding.  It began on October 4, 1979 in Saal 201, in Duisburg, ending in April 1982.  Despite his hope for a cure and release, Kroll was convicted of all counts.  Since capital punishment had been abolished after the war, he could be sentenced to only a maximum of life in prison.  But he received nine such sentences, to be served in the prison at Rheinbach.  Nevertheless, as life sentences go, he didn't last very long.