Leo Egidius Schiffer (born 1956 - July 21/22, 2018 in Bochum) was a German serial killer, who was known as the "Strangler of Aachen". Between 1983 and 1990, he murdered five girls and women between the ages of 15 to 31, abusing three of them sexually. His crimes were known as "hitchhiker killings" or "Disco-murders". In 1985, the program Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst covered his case.
The first murder was committed in July 1983 near Alsdorf: the 18-year-old Marion Gerecht was at a bus stop when she was attacked by Schiffer. When he attacked her, she fought him with all her strength and even trampled his windshield. Although she was able to prevent a rape, she was strangled, stripped and thrown into a fishing pond.
In February 1984, Schiffer attacked 15-year-old Andrea Wernicke near the nightclub 'Rockfabrik" Uebach-Palenbeg, Geilenkirchen, country Heinsberg. whenroad B221. She habitually tramped home after visiting the nightclub. He raped the school GIRL (from Herzogenrath-Merkstrin) before he strangled her and dumped her body near an open field.
On August 31, 1984, the 17-year-old Angelika Sehl got into Schiffer's car.
In December 1985, 18-year-old Marion Lauven was abducted, raped and killed in Aachen. She too had been standing at a bus stop. For an hour, Schiffer drove across the country with the body in the trunk until he found a place to drop it off. He covered her bare body with leaves and then left.
On June 16, 1990, Sabine Neumann disappeared in Niederkrüchten on the way from the "Inside" nightclub. Schiffer had dragged the 31-year-old into his Mercedes, where he raped and strangled her. A year later, her skeletonized corpse was found by passers-by in a forest near Wegberg. Based on dental records the body was identified as that of the missing woman.
Arrest and conviction
In March 2007 Egidius Schiffer was caught and arrested in Heinsberg while trying to steal scrap metal. He voluntarily gave a saliva sample, with the results exposing him as the perpetrator of the five murders. He was arrested on August 23 for murder. During the confession, he confessed to the five murders, but recanted his confessions before the district court on the grounds that he had sadomasochistic tendencies. He only admitted to the murders because the thought of pre-trial detention and punishment had aroused him. Schiffer also alleged that he was forced to confess.
However, the court relied on the repeated confession of Schiffer which also had "disclosed perpetrator's knowledge", as well as the DNA traces present at the crime scenes.
He was sentenced on August 19, 2008, 18 years after his last murder, by the Aachen Regional Court for murder in five cases and rape in two cases to life imprisonment. The court also noted the particular severity of the guilt. A revision was rejected by the Federal Court of Justice in June 2009.
On the morning of July 22, 2018, Schiffer was found dead in his cell in the Bochum correctional facility.
There he had connected his body to the power grid using multiple cables to support autoerotic practises, and he died as a result of heart arrhythmia.