Men guilty of killing and sexually assaulting bisexual pop star
Two men have been convicted of manslaughter and serious sexual assault over the death of bisexual singer Jim Reeves in February 2016.
The Polish defendants—Pawel A, 31, and Adam K, 24—were handed 14 and 13 years in prison, respectively, after Judge Peter Faust said in his verdict on Wednesday (November 6) that they had attacked Reeves in a Berlin hostel room, leaving him unconscious and seriously hurt, then “repeatedly staked him with a chair leg in a degrading, homophobic way,” according to AP.
The 47-year-old German star died of internal injuries caused by the attack, which also reportedly involved sexual assault with a courgette and left Reeves with 15 broken ribs.
Reeves, who rose to fame in the 1990s as a member of Eurodance band Sqeezer, had reportedly moved to the Happy Go Lucky hostel temporarily, after an argument with his girlfriend. His group sold more than a million records worldwide with hits like “Blue Jeans” and “Without You.”
The court heard how the guilty parties, whose surnames have been withheld due to German privacy laws, covered the body up and went to sleep, checking out of the hostel the next morning and leaving the body to be found by the next guest.
They told the court that Reeves had made sexual advances towards them and that they were extremely drunk during the events which led to his death.
Pawel pleaded not guilty throughout the trial, but Adam confessed, saying: “I am ashamed. Soberly, I would never have done such a thing.”
“It is a heinous act.”
As well as his prison sentence, Pawel was also ordered to attend a detention centre for treatment of his alcohol addiction.
Controversy over the verdict
The court did not choose to convict the pair of murder, excusing the defendants from that charge because of their intoxicated states.
Reeves’ family will appeal the verdict, according to Berlin newspaper BZ. A lawyer representing them said: “We want a conviction for murder, we see lower motives.
“It is a heinous act. The homophobic sentiment behind the heinous act was not cleared up.”
Reeves’ cousin, singer and TV presenter Mola Adebisi, added: “My cousin has been impaled with a chair leg.
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“This cruelty is too much. I can not understand all that. That the perpetrators then slept next to the dead and just checked out the next morning.”
One of the defendants—both of whom worked in construction—was extradited to Germany last year for the trial, after having served out the rest of a separate prison sentence in Poland.
The other was discovered by police in Spain, to the west of Barcelona.
After putting up what police said was a significant resistance, he was arrested and revealed to be carrying a stun gun, two fake ID cards, three cell phones and €7,000 in cash.