Was it a crime?
On 30 January 2004, Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.The case attracted considerable media attention and started a debate over whether Meiwes could be convicted at all, due to the fact that Brandes had voluntarily taken part in the cannibalism and had entered Meiwes' house fully aware of his intentions. It also proved problematic for German lawyers who discovered that cannibalism is in fact legal in Germany and subsequently charged Meiwes with murder for the purposes of sexual pleasure and with 'disturbing the peace of the dead'.At the trial, 19 minutes of the video showing key moments of the crime was shown to the court, after reporters and the public were removed.Only a year later, in April 2005, a German court ordered that there should be a retrial, after prosecutors appealed Meiwes' sentence as being too lenient. Their argument was that he should have been convicted of murder, not manslaughter, and been given a life sentence.
The retrial began on 12 January 2006, where prosecutors questioned the actual reasoning for Brandes’ killing as being a way to satisfy Meiwes' own sexual desires, rather than obliging Brandes his request. They also brought to light the fact that Brandes was not capable of making any decisions on the evening of 9 March, as he had consumed significant amounts of alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of his penis amputation.On 10 May 2006, a court in Frankfurt convicted Meiwes of murder and changed his initial eight and a half year sentence to life imprisonment.