Police found a wealth of evidence in an apartment in the city of Zwickau, where the two had lived with Beate Zschape, who was arrested. Among the items found was a DVD in which the trio calling themselves the National Socialist Underground claimed responsibility for the killings and other attacks, including the killing of a policewoman in 2007 and a nail bomb attack in Cologne in 2004 that injured 22 people in a part of the city where many ethnic Turks live.
German police and intelligence have been criticized for their handling of the case and for failing for a long time to investigate a possible racist motive vigorously enough.
German Police Saw Underworld Links As Possible Motive
Unlike the FBI profilers, German investigators were ambivalent about the motives and were in 2007, at the time of the FBI report, still pursuing two theories. One theory said the killer chose his victims at random and hated foreigners. The other theory, which was taken equally seriously, was that there may be a criminal organization that had some link with the victims and had sent a contract killer to liquidate them. The head of the Nuremberg-based police task force investigating the crimes, which was named "Bosporus," said there was much to suggest that both hypotheses were wrong.
Professional criminals who were paid for their crimes would have been unlikely to commit the killings in the middle of the day because the risk of being spotted and caught was greatest then, police said at the time. Besides, the victims in three of the killings, in Kassel, Nuremberg and Rostock, had only been in the shops by chance when the killers struck. A contract killer would have had to go to great lengths to follow them. It was an unlikely scenario.
So what about a lone racist? There were good arguments against that theory as well, police said at the time. The case analysts at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), which is Germany's version of the FBI, had argued in 2008 that serial killers usually have sexual motives and almost always commit their crimes close to where they live. This killer, by contrast, traveled the length and breadth of Germany. And in the case of Internet café manager Halit Y., killed in Kassel in April 2006, there was no indication, for example through a sign outside, that he was of Turkish origin, police said at the time.
FBI Saw 'Grudge Against Ethnic Turks'
The FBI had recommended conducting a high-publicity search for people who have a "grudge against ethnic Turks" and may have been in the various places at the time of the shootings.
In addition, the U.S. case analysts noticed the unusual caliber of the second pistol used in the shootings. In addition to the Ceska 83 the killers used an old 6.35 mm weapon in the first murder, in Nuremberg, and the third murder, in Hamburg. The profilers concluded from this that it was probably an old weapon of which the offender was "very proud." They advised their German colleagues to issue a media release seeking the owners of such weapons.
The pistol was found in the ruins of the burned-out Zwickau apartment. It was an Italian pistol of the type Bruni Mod. 315, built as a starter pistol but later modified to fire real bullets.
According to information obtained by Spiegel Online, investigators also found numerous newspaper clippings about their attacks in the apartment. They noticed that they had kept significantly more articles from local Rhineland newspapers Express and the Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger about the 2004 Cologne nail bomb attack than about all the other attacks.
That begs the question whether the killers had really spent months sifting through local newspapers -- assuming they were even available in Zwickau. If not, someone who presumable lived in the Rhineland must have supplied the cell with the newspapers. That means there could be an accomplice so far unknown to the police.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Spiegel Online journalists Jorg Diehl, Hubert Gude and Sven Robel in context here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,829305,00.html