The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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In September 1980, 17-year-old Janusz Komar fled his native Czechoslovakia, seeking political asylum in West Germany. He signed on with the French Foreign Legion two months later, but was sent home in March 1981, designated as unfit for duty. On June 10 of that year, he was charged with two counts of robbery, granted political asylum five days later, in spite of the pending criminal charges. Conviction of robbery as a juvenile earned him a one-year suspended sentence, and he managed to stay out of trouble until June 1982, when he was arrested for drunk driving, driving without a license, and leaving the scene of an accident. Sentenced to six months on those charges, he was released on the basis of four months served prior to trial. Upon release, Komar immediately violated terms of his probation by failing to report on schedule, and he was hauled back to "complete" his six-month sentence, hitting the streets again on November 10, 1983.
A week later, 26-year-old Mutsuko Ayano, a Japanese student, was brutally beaten and stomped by a mugger in Trier, near the Luxembourg border. She died four days later, without regaining consciousness. Police saw no immediate connection with a burglary at Trier, November 28, in which $1,100 cash was stolen from a villa on the edge of town. By December 5, the action had shifted to Regensberg, across the country in Bavaria, with 68-year-old Maria Weiss robbed and stomped to death in her flower shop.
Investigators played a hunch, reviewing unsolved robberies throughout West Germany, and they discovered a series of similar crimes connecting the two murder sites. A computer scan of similar solved cases kicked out names of three suspects, including 20-year old Janusz Komar. An interview with Komar's room mate in Regensberg finally cracked the case, revealing that Komar had come home with blood on his clothing the day Maria Weiss was murdered.
In custody, Komar confessed to the murders and various robberies, stating that he needed the money for travel, liquor, and drugs. Convicted on two counts of premeditated murder in November 1985, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment -- the maximum penalty allowed for defendants under 21 years of age. With time off for "good behavior," he could theoretically be on the streets again by 1990.
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