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Man Admits to Being Among 'Most Prolific Serial Killers'

Niels Hoegel's latest trial opens in Oldenburg, Germany
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2018 2:40 PM CDT
In this Feb. 26, 2015 file photo former nurse Niels Hoegel, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, covers his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany.   (Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP,file)

(Newser) – A German man in court on Tuesday essentially admitted being "one of the world's most prolific serial killers," as the BBC puts it. That he was a killer was already known: Niels Hoegel, a 41-year-old former nurse, is currently serving a life sentence in connection with the murders and attempted murders of six of his patients. During that trial, he mentioned intentionally using drugs to cause cardiac arrests in scores of patients in order to then revive them; that led authorities to exhume 130 bodies. He's now accused of killing 36 in Oldenburg—where his current trial opened Tuesday—and 64 in Delmenhorst over the years 1999 and 2005. When asked by the judge in Oldenburg if the charges that he murdered 100 people were largely true, Hoegel answered "yes," per the AP, which reports German defendants don't formally plead their guilt or innocence.

"What I have admitted took place," he said, per the AFP. The AP reports on the implications of this trial and Hoegel's hope for freedom: Sentences in Germany aren't served consecutively, and those serving life are generally up for parole after 15 years. More convictions could impact his chance of parole. "The aim is for Hoegel to stay in custody as long as possible," says a rep from the patients' families, who added "we ... expect Hoegel to be convicted of another 100 killings." The AFP notes officials think the true toll could be closer to 200, but because many patients were cremated, the true count will never be known. The trial isn't expected to wrap up until May. (Another nurse allegedly hurt infants in a Wisconsin intensive care unit.)

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