Transcript: 105. The Scholls from Ludwigsfelde | Germany

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It was a cold day on Friday the 30th of December 2011 when Heiner Scholl and his grown son, Matthias, were out walking in the pine forest outside of Ludwigsfelde. Werner Singer, a family friend, the town veterinarian, was with them too, but this was no leisurely stroll. The three men were looking for Heiner’s wife of almost 50 years, Brigitte.

The previous day, as was her usual routine, 67-year-old Brigitte took her Cocker Spaniel, Ursus, for a walk. Heiner, former mayor of Ludwigsfelde, was in Berlin, meeting a friend for lunch. When he returned home, and his wife wasn’t there, he was immediately concerned. He noticed Brigitte’s car was gone too, which meant she may not have returned from the forest where she always took Ursus for walks. Heiner called friends and neighbours, looking for her. But no one had seen Brigitte.

Then Heiner drove to the forest, but could not see his wife’s silver Mercedes C-class in the parking lot. He knew something wasn’t right and went to Ludwigsfelde Police Station to report her missing.

Although Brigitte had only been missing for a couple of hours, police launched a search. However, they could not find any trace of Brigitte Scholl.

The next day when Heiner, Matthias and Werner were out looking for her, they saw a small pair of black shoes, next to a path in the woods. They were placed neatly next to each other like Brigitte would usually leave it. They followed the trail with a sense of dread… Then, under some foliage and tufts of moss, they found her… Brigitte had a plastic bag over her head, and she was no longer alive. Next to her, lay her beloved Ursus – he too, had been killed.

How did the wife of a former mayor end up dead in the woods in the cold of winter, only one day after her 47th wedding anniversary?

>>Intro Music

Ludwigsfelde is nestled in the German countryside within a stone’s throw from former East Berlin. 25,000 people call Ludwigsfelde home and locals lovingly refer to their town as ‘Lu’. It is peaceful and quiet, but city lights are only a short distance away. To many people, this little town renowned for its manufacturing industry, is the perfect place to live.

One of Ludwigsfelde’s brightest stars is a man called Heinrich Scholl. He was born there in January 1943. He had a bleak and loveless childhood. His dad was a coal miner, and his mom worked in retail, selling cheese at Kaufhaus des Westens, KaDeWe. He had an older sister, who was adopted. She received all of their mother’s love and attention. Heiner, as he was called, was pretty much left to his own devices from a young age.

When he finished school, Heiner Scholl trained as a toolmaker and eventually completed a degree in engineering at Riesa. All the while, he worked many part-time jobs, of which he gave all his money to his mother.

As a teenager, Heiner escaped from his loveless home as often as he could. A local hairdresser, Frau Knoreck always welcomed him. The Knorecks was a well-off family who had fled Gleiwitz, where they had owned a couple of hairdressing salons.

Heiner helped out with odd jobs at Frau Knoreck’s salon in Ludwigsfelde, and soon became friends with her daughter, Brigitte. There was never talk of romance between them, as Brigitte was a bit out of Heiner’s league. She was glamorous and quick to tell her friends what to wear and what to do. In their late teens, there was a rumour that he sometimes found his way into Brigitte’s bedroom and that she had said he was a good lover, but there was nothing more to it. Heiner felt at home with Brigitte’s family, and they seemed to have a loyal friendship.

Heiner had a child with a girlfriend, but was not ready for the commitment of fatherhood and walked out on them. Brigitte also fell pregnant by a boyfriend who had left her. No one could say why, but somehow the childhood friends decided to get married. No one ever thought that the decision was made because they loved each other, it was more of an arrangement than a passionate affair. He always felt like a part of the Knoreck family, and after marrying Brigitte, he finally was.

Heiner Scholl and Brigitte Knoreck married in December 1964. Heiner adopted his wife’s son without batting an eyelid. It was never really discussed with people they met – Matthias took Scholl’s last name and the couple always introduced him as their son. They were a family of three, and the fact that Heinrich was not Matthias’ biological father was irrelevant. Friends of the couple found it strange that Heiner did not want to be a father to his own son but gladly took on the role as Matthias’ father.

As a couple, Heiner and Brigitte were opposites in many regards. He loved oil paintings – many of which he painted himself. Brigitte hated it. She was a dog-person and Heiner a cat-person. But despite their differences, there was a strong bond, a sense of duty towards each other. Brigitte was the dominant one and Heiner subservient – it is the way it always was as kids and the nature of their relationship remained the same throughout their marriage.

Once he was a qualified engineer, Heiner worked at the car works in Ludwigsfelde, but was let go after he discussed the poor situation of the GDR (former East Germany) with a Swedish supplier. He was singled out as a saboteur and despite many efforts, failed to get another job. When offered a position as the technical director of a Circus, Heiner jumped on it, as he had no other prospects. He flourished and rose to work in the general directorate of the GDR state circus in Berlin.

He enjoyed this time, living away from Brigitte. As life with the domineering Brigitte was reminiscent of his home-life as a child. He was independent and for the first time in his life, felt like people respected him. But he knew he couldn’t live away from his family forever and returned to Ludwigsfelde in 1989. Back home, Heiner found work as a technician for various local sports centres.In the same year, the Berlin Wall came down. Heiner was deeply affected by this, he felt a personal calling to help his hometown of Ludwigsfelde to move into the new era, embracing all that the west had to offer.

After seeking out contacts and like-minded people, Heiner Scholl took bold action. He became a founding member and spokesman of the local chapter of SPD (Social Democratic Party). He took to politics like a fish to water and decided to run for mayor of Ludwigsfelde in 1990. He became the first democratically elected mayor and finally felt like his life had purpose. Because of his short stature – only 160cm tall – he was nicknamed ‘Napoleon of Lu’. He was re-elected every time he ran and eventually served for almost 20 years.

During his time as mayor, Heiner Scholl completed many successful projects. He created more than 10,000 jobs over the years and made Ludwigsfelde the auto manufacturing capital of East Germany. He even played host to a visit from Prince Charles one year. During his tenure, large companies established manufacturing facilities in the conveniently located little town. For instance, Daimler-Benz built a factory that made vans in Ludwigsfelde.

Heiner Scholl was seen everywhere – if a building had to be opened, the mayor was there; if there was a charity dinner, he was there too. He lived and breathed for his job. Sometimes Brigitte was by his side, attending ceremonies or functions, other times he attended alone.

Despite significant professional success, Heiner could never do right by Brigitte. She was proud of him when he became mayor, of course, and laid out a suit and tie for his inauguration. Some of their friends thought that this brief moment of support was because Brigitte liked being married to a person of stature. She was more excited about the prospect of being the mayor’s wife, than she was happy for her husband for finding his vocation in life.

Brigitte took her piece of the limelight whenever she could. She hosted charity events and, with Heiner’s support established the annual Christmas markets in Ludwigsfelde. But she wasn’t simply Heiner’s ‘plus-one’ – Brigitte owned an exclusive, upmarket beauty salon, which she ran from home. Because their home was also her place of business, she was pedantic about keeping it clean and tidy.

Despite being one of the busiest people in Ludwigsfelde, Heiner never neglected his home chores as a husband. Brigitte didn’t think twice before calling him home to trim an hedge or mow the lawn. Occasionally she called while he was in meetings and insisted that he came home to do what was required of him.

Friends of the couple recalled that Brigitte often belittled her husband in front of others, calling him Wurzel-zwerg (little gnome), because of his height. She despised the fact that he drank wine, as she never enjoyed alcohol. At Town Hall celebrations she would cover his glass with her hand if a waiter wanted to top it up, saying he’d already had one glass. She controlled every little aspect of his life.

His work was a place where Heiner escaped. He spent more and more time at Town Hall and in 2005, he found comfort in the arms of a female colleague, who worked in city administration. She was much younger than him. He said she looked like Julia Roberts and was completely taken in by her. However, leaving his wife was never an option for Heiner, and his mistress knew it. When he retired, their relationship ended.

Brigitte received an anonymous letter in the mailbox at their home, informing her of her husband’s infidelity. Instead of confronting him, she decided to get her revenge later on. It was very important for her to keep up appearances and she knew, even though she despised Heiner for cheating on her, she would never leave him. Well, not in this life. So she went to the local funeral home where she paid for a single spot for her ashes. She informed the director that only her son and her best friend were to speak at her funeral and her husband would not be welcome at her memorial service.

This was the ultimate passive aggressive form of revenge. Truth be told, Brigitte had also had an affair during the marriage. It was after losing both her mother and sister in short succession. It ended is quickly as it started. Heiner knew about it, but never confronted Brigitte about it. So the silent wall between them grew and festered, each one quietly despising the other behind their public smiles.

However, from the outside in, it looked like they had the picture-perfect life: both had careers they loved, and were successful. Their house was beautiful and spotless and whenever needed, they appeared side-by-side, smiling for the whole town to see.

But Heiner Scholl’s time as mayor had come to an end, it was time to make way fro a new generation of ambitious local politicians to take the reins. If you were to ask Scholl, he would probably say his finest accomplishment during his time a mayor, was building the largest covered naturist spa in all of Europe. His plan did not go without opposition, but he eventually managed to finish the project – a final hurrah, his legacy to the town.

In the end, Scholl served three terms as mayor of Ludwigsfelde – a tremendous honour. But when he retired after 18 years, it seemed like everything in his life began to fall apart. He spent his days at home and Brigitte pulled him into the salon to greet customers, like a child who had to perform. He tried one or two business ventures, but Brigitte was not pleased with the fact that he wanted to work from home too. It interfered with the peaceful ambience she wanted to create for her clients at her beauty salon.

Heiner, who had suffered with a poor stomach for most of his life, struggled with his health. He became sicker and sicker and lost a lot of weight. He was waning away and despite visiting many doctors and specialists, they could not find a cure for his chronic inflammatory bowel disease. He came to the conclusion that his emotional state caused his illness and even went so far as to say to Brigitte that SHE was his disease.

On advice from his doctor, Heiner checked in to a health resort for a period of treatment. A therapist encouraged him to write about his relationship with his wife, to express himself. He was keen to write and packed the punches. He wrote that Brigitte ‘nannied him’ and wouldn’t let him hang up his paintings. She cleaned obsessively and treated him like a child. One note written by Heiner read:

“No love anymore!”

Heiner looked to rent office space in Berlin, so he could start his own business. But after office-hunting for a while, he realised that it would be cheaper to rent an apartment. So it happened that he found a top-floor unit in Berlin-Zehlendorf that was perfect. Scholl used the apartment as an office from where he did consulting work. Some nights after meetings he stayed in the city. Eventually, he stayed in Berlin during the week and went home to Brigitte in Ludwigsfelde on weekends. The arrangement worked well, for a while.

Quietly, Heiner enjoyed the freedom of his own place. He decorated it to his personal taste, Brigitte had no input, she was never allowed to visit there. In his Berlin pad was a photo of his former mistress from Town Hall, as well as a photo of her look-alike, Julia Roberts.

During this stay in Berlin, he used his free time to write, as his therapist had encouraged him to do. He employed a ghostwriter to assist him in writing an erotic novel. He found that writing was not only therapeutic, it also gave him a sense of power and liberty to reveal his sexual fantasies, even though it was written using a pseudonym, Harry Sanders. The book was distributed in Ludwigsfelde, and his friends cringed. Heiner told Brigitte that he only edited the book, something that she did not approve of.

When Heiner was in Berlin, Brigitte didn’t call him home for odd jobs anymore. They began living separate lives for the most part. He felt independent and free, at last. She kept up appearances, and besides running her business and walking Ursus, she had a mostly solitary life. She took up a hobby of moss arrangement and gathered moss in the forest whenever she took Ursus out. She worked from 8-12, then took Ursus for his walk before clocking in at 2pm for another two hours at the salon.

It was a peaceful time for Brigitte, but she was always conscious of the short-comings of her marriage. When she received information that her husband had taken a lover in the city, she wasn’t surprised. This time she confronted him, but he said that he didn’t want to talk about it. For a while, Brigitte was okay with merely turning a blind eye. If she needed Heiner, he always came home. That was all she wanted, to keep up appearances, and he complied.

But as months went by, she became increasingly upset about his affair. Along with a friend she drove into Berlin one night where they parked outside his apartment building. They couldn’t see anything and returned to Ludwigsfelde.

Meanwhile, Heiner Scholl was spending most of his time with his 33-year-old Thai lover, Phinyoyos. They met through a friend in Berlin, and he fell madly in love with her. But she felt quite indifferent towards him and used him for financial gain. So infatuated was he, that he showered her with gifts and even settled all her debts. He bought her a television, clothing, furniture… All in all, he spent between 40,000 and 70,000 EUROS on her during their affair.

After an 18-month dalliance, when his money ran out, she broke things off. For Heiner, things were serious, but not for Phinyoyos. Heiner was disappointed, as he had big plans to open a hotel-resort in her native Thailand. In his mind, they were in a committed relationship. When he took her to Thailand to visit her family, they had a wedding ceremony of sorts, and he gave her parents money to upgrade their home.

After that, they returned to Germany and Phinyoyos became increasingly annoyed by her 67-year-old boyfriend. He called her at all hours and kept tabs on her movements. Her debts were paid off, and she owned a couple of nice things, so she decided it was time to move on. She found another newly-retired suitor who loved spending money on her, in return for sexual favours and companionship.

Heiner was obsessed with her and tried everything to win her back. But she wouldn’t budge. He hired a private investigator to follow her and discovered that she supplemented her income with sex work. He was heartbroken that the relationship was over. He had spent most of his money and time on her, and as a result, his consulting business collapsed.

Heiner Scholl had no other choice but to move back to his wife Brigitte in Ludwigsfelde. After time apart, this arrangement did not work well for Heiner OR Brigitte. It was easier to turn a blind eye to the faults in their marriage when they were living apart, but once they were under the same roof again, there was nowhere to hide.

An entry in Heiner’s diary during this time reads:

“Reserves exhausted! Endless knock-on effect! I’m the only one who can do anything about it!”

Brigitte felt vindicated when Heiner moved back in. She knew he wouldn’t make it in Berlin and that his fling wouldn’t last. She made him sleep in the basement and tried to make him do odd-jobs around the house. But, for the first time in their marriage, he didn’t comply. He kept to himself but refused to be bossed around.

Despite domestic tensions, both of them knew how to keep things civil. For a while, life simply carried on. Neighbours and friends, and even their son Matthias thought that they had worked things out. Brigitte was concerned about travelling with Ursus and cancelled Christmas plans with Matthias and his family, who lived in Wiesbaden, about 500km away.

She closed the salon between Christmas and New Year and was enjoying to the break. On the 28th of December, Brigitte and Heiner celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. He gave her a bunch of red roses, and they had some champagne to celebrate. This would be their last day together.

On Wednesday the 29th of December, Matthias received an alarming phone call from his dad:

“Mom is not here, the dog isn’t here and her car is gone. Do you know anything?”

Heiner told Matthias that Brigitte had taken Ursus for a walk while he was in Berlin for lunch and that she had not returned. Because her salon was closed, she was not pressed for time, but she was never gone that long. Heiner called neighbours and friends, but no one knew where Brigitte could be. At 8pm, Heiner went to the police station to report his wife missing.

Matthias arrived the next day to help Heiner in the search for Brigitte and Ursus. Together with their friend, Werner Singer (the town veterinarian) they went to the woods to look for her. After many unsuccessful hours, Matthias wanted to give up for the day. Heiner insisted they carried on. He pushed forward, and they came to a narrow path in the forest. Matthias noticed a pair of black slip-on shoes, placed next to each other like his mom always did at home. They realised she had to be somewhere near.

When they walked along a narrow path in the woods, they found her… Brigitte’s head was covered with a plastic bag, and she had a turquoise shoelace around her neck. She was no longer alive. Next to her lay Ursus, also deceased.

They called police to the scene.

Matthias was a wreck: who would want to harm his mom? He tried to speak to his dad, but he didn’t say much.

He assumed his father was in shock, struck down with grief. Together they called Brigitte’s clients on New Year’s Day, Matthias found his father’s emotionless way of dealing with the situation uncomfortable. Heiner simply said:

“You don’t need to come anymore. Mrs Scholl is dead.”

Despite her wishes, Heiner did attend Brigitte’s funeral. She was laid to rest on the 24th of January. Heiner was grief-stricken and placed a white bow on her grave with golden letters saying:

“With deep sorrow. Your Heiner.”

Investigators used the initial weeks of the investigation to get a clear picture of Brigitte Scholl’s life, to ascertain if she had any enemies. From the start, they found Heiner Scholl’s actions after his wife’s murder peculiar. During his first interview at the scene, he told investigators that he had recently moved back home and that theirs was not the happiest of marriages. He mentioned details, like the fact that he wasn’t allowed to put up his paintings in the house. Typically, the spouse of a murder victim who had been missing is confused and guilt-ridden, not Heiner Scholl, it was almost like he tried to play the victim himself.

When Brigitte was found, her body was partially undressed, with her pants were pulled down. She was strangled with a shoelace, then a plastic bag was placed over her head after which she received multiple blows to the head. Her face was disfigured. In her pocket, they found viagra and a condom.

Police found the scene odd and felt that it was staged like the killer wanted it to look like a sex crime when it wasn’t. Chunks of moss and pieces of grass were strewn over her lifeless body, it was almost like a make-shift grave.

There weren’t any clues: no footprints or fingerprints. Testing showed that the shoelace used to strangle Brigitte came from the Scholl household. Brigitte’s Mercedes was found in a residential area in Ludwigsfelde, a substantial distance from the forest where she had gone for a walk, only 1km from the Scholl home, in a side-street near the station.

Heiner Scholl was asked about his whereabouts on December 29th. He provided a timeline of his day: he went shopping in the morning and stopped at a gas station to get fuel for his Nissan. Around 12pm he went to the thermal spa for surveying work. From there he went to Berlin where he met a friend for lunch. There is evidence to back up most of his day. However, no one remembered seeing him at the thermal spa. He was also an hour late for lunch. That meant that there was an hour during which no one could offer Heiner Scholl and alibi. The exact same hour during which his wife was murdered.

Four days after Brigitte Scholl’s funeral, at six o’clock in the morning, her husband was arrested at their home on Walter-Rathenau-Straße, Ludwigsfelde at 6am. He was charged with murder and violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Once he was taken away, police searched the house.

Heiner Scholl realised that he had no alibi and placed an ad in a local paper, appealing to the public for help. Along with a photograph of himself, he said:

“Dear Ludwigsfelders, visitors to the thermal baths and guests in the town. Did anyone see me on 29 Dec 2011 from 12:00 to 13:10 near the Thermal Baths in Ludwigsfelde? I was wearing a three-quarter length dark-blue raincoat and blue jeans.”

Heiner Scholl’s trial was held at Potsdam Regional Court, and he pleaded not guilty. But the case against him did not look good.

A witness saw Brigitte AND Heiner get out of the car in the parking lot at the edge of the woods. Then the witness, Anita Ludwig, admitted that he wasn’t sure if it was the Wednesday or Thursday. She was a former colleague of Heiner’s, and wondered to herself if Heiner and Brigitte were back together, that is why she took note – she hadn’t seen them together in months.

Another witness came forward, saying she saw Brigitte walking her dog in the forest alone on Wednesday, which supported the other initial witness statement that Brigitte and Heiner were together on the day she was killed.

Cell phone tower evidence placed Heiner in the vicinity of the forest at the time of the murder. Another witness also saw Heiner driving Brigitte’s car, alone, in the early afternoon on the day of the murder.

Heiner Scholl’s DNA was found on the shoelace around his dead wife’s neck as well as in her car. But as he lived in the same home, it did not definitively link him to the crime scene.

His behaviour on the day of Brigitte’s disappearance was questioned: why was he so quick to raise the alarm with neighbours and police. She was only gone for three hours. Heiner had his life and Brigitte hers, investigators found it odd that, when he came home, and she was gone, he immediately thought something was wrong. Surely he was used to her NOT disclosing all her movements to him. Any reasonable person would assume she was at a friend’s house or had gone shopping, not that she had disappeared.

His Thai lover took the stand and did not have good things to say about the man who used to be her meal-ticket. Heiner Scholl was obsessed with his public image and a good reputation, but the testimony from his lover brought it all crashing down. She volunteered embarrassing anecdotes from the bedroom, some even made the courtroom erupt in laughter. When she was asked what Heiner’s attitude toward his wife was, she said:

“He spoke well of her, only sometimes he said: my wife is annoying.”

A quote from the erotic novel he wrote under the pseudonym Henry Sanders gave a sinister insight into Scholl’s innermost thoughts. The main character talks about his wife and says he’ll never consider divorce, but murder is an option…

The Prosecution presented their case: Heiner and Brigitte went for a walk on the afternoon of 29 December. Heiner suddenly attacked Brigitte as she bent down to collect moss, by punching her in the face, causing her to drop to the ground. Then he used the shoelace to strangle her, all the while looking his wife of 47 years in the eyes. When Brigitte lost consciousness, he pulled the plastic back over her face to make sure she would not survive.

With Brigitte dead, he turned to her beloved dog Ursus and broke his neck. Then he set out to stage the murder scene: he pulled off her pants and injured her vagina, to make it look like a sex crime. He placed Viagra and a condom in her pocket, possibly to make it look like she was planning on meeting a lover in the woods.

One aspect of the crime that could not be solved was the question of who died first: Brigitte or her dog Ursus. If Heiner had killed the dog first, Brigitte would have fought him, as her dog meant everything to her. If Brigitte was murdered first, why didn’t Ursus attack his owner’s killer? To strangle someone with a shoelace takes significant time.

The defence tried to paint a picture of Heiner as an emotionally abused husband who had endured a lifetime of hell with Brigitte. Other than the fact that the Scholls had an unhappy marriage for decades, there was not really a motive in the case. Scholl had his parallel life in Berlin. He did as he pleased and Brigitte no longer had a firm hold on him. Why would Heiner decide to end her life? Had he simply had enough? Did he blame her for his shortcomings?

In May 2013, Heiner Scholl was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife. It was ruled to be a hate crime, driven by greed.

Journalist, Anja Reich-Osang covered the story from the start. She received a lot of feedback from people who lived in Ludwigsfelde and decided to spend some time there to learn more about the Scholls. Her book: The Scholl Case – The Deadly End of a Marriage, is a book, Truman Capote-style, looking at the background of the killer and studying the marriage. The book paints a picture of years and years of emotional abuse by Brigitte and a late-in-life retort by Heiner.

The book sparked some doubt about Heiner Scholl’s guilt. The truth is that he did not stand much to gain by killing Brigitte. Is there an outside chance that he is perhaps, as he claims to be: innocent.

One theory is that Brigitte had hired someone to end her life. In the weeks leading up to her death, her behaviour was unusual. It was like she had a premonition. She told Matthias about some hidden cash in the house, and said if anything happened to her, he should have it. She also had long and open conversations with friends, it was almost like she was saying goodbye. This, of course was pieced together in hindsight. It is possible that, at the point to retire, she took stock of her life, so to speak. She was always very organised, so setting her clients up with other salons or telling them where to buy skin products, would have been a way of her preparing to pull back at work.

Another theory explored in the book was that, like Heiner, Brigitte had a lover who killed her and framed Heiner. An anonymous letter was sent to police, saying that Brigitte had had an affair with a friend’s husband for many years. Shortly before her death, she wanted to come out with the truth. Did the boyfriend perhaps kill her before she could expose the affair?

If this was the case, it would be the perfect murder, as no one knew about her lover. And being a close friend of the family, he would have been a confidante to her, he would have known all about her complicated marriage to Heiner.

Matthias provided investigators with sympathy cards he received after his mother’s death. They were able to match the handwriting of the anonymous letter to an old school friend of Brigitte’s who lived in Ludwigsfelde. How she knew about Brigitte’s affair, is anyone’s guess. By the time investigators went looking for her, she had moved away and they could not track her down. The alleged boyfriend denied that he was ever romantically involved with Brigitte. His wife, also a childhood friend, didn’t know what to believe. The man was never charged with anything.

The thing is, there was a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to Heiner Scholl. Even the judge concluded that he most likely did not plan the murder, but after years of being belittled and put down, he snapped. A moment arose, and years of pent-up hatred exploded. Brigitte turned her back to him to collect moss, he saw the opportunity and punched her, something he had never done before. Once he started, he knew there was no turning back. As for Ursus, the dog, he was so important to Brigitte, some friends even mentioned that she treated the dog better than she treated her husband and son. If Heiner truly hated his wife, the dog was part of the package – Ursus had to die too.

Heiner Scholl exhausted his appeals and is currently serving his life sentence in Brandenburg an den Havel. He will never be a free man again. Matthias Scholl lost not only his mother but also his adoptive father, the only man he ever knew as his dad. His whole family had been wiped out, and for what? Greed, revenge, so Heiner could have the final word? With Heiner Scholl denying murdering his wife, we’ll probably never know exactly what happened in the Brandenburg woods on that December day, or why.

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