A victim of the system
Kurten’s trial commenced on 13 April 1931, on charges including nine murders and seven attempted murders. To outward appearances the successful businessman, in well-tailored suit, he initially retracted his extensive confession, claiming that he had sought only to ensure his wife’s financial security.
However, exhaustive questioning by the examining magistrate, and a damning litany of evidence, over the subsequent two months, caused him to eventually admit guilt whilst under interrogation. In an emotionless voice, Kurten claimed that his childhood, and the German penal system, was responsible for releasing his sadistic tendencies, and he showed no remorse for his crimes.
The jury took only 90 minutes to return a verdict of guilty on all counts, and Kurten received nine death sentences. He was executed by guillotine on 2 July 1931.