Did Marianne Bachmeier go to jail? Her crime detailed

By Chege Karomo — ON Jan 19, 2023
Marianne Bachmeier
Marianne Bachmeier leaves the courtroom on March 2, 1983. | Wulf Pfeiffer/Getty Images

On 6th March 1981, Marianne Bachmeire shot her daughter’s murderer, Klaus Grabowski, six times in the back during his trial, killing him instantly. Grabowski’s delivery of vigilante justice made international news and polarized a nation, with some claiming her actions were justified and others equating her to the murderer she’d assassinated. 

Bachmeire made no attempt to flee – she dropped her weapon after emptying the Beretta 70’s magazine into Grabowski. Witnesses of the shooting alleged that Marianne said she intended to kill Grabowski. 

“He killed my daughter,” Bachmeire allegedly said. “I wanted to shoot him in the face but I shot him in the back. I hope he’s dead.”

Marianne Bachmeier was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison

Marianne Bachmeier
Cornelia Gus/Getty Images

Bachmeier was initially tried for murder, but the prosecution dropped the charge before her acquittal or conviction. Following extensive deliberations, Bachmeier was convicted of intentional manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison. She spent three years in jail, securing release on parole in June 1985. 

Bachmeier said during her trial that she shot Klaus to prevent him from spreading more falsehoods about her daughter, Anna. 

In May 1980, Anna skipped school following an argument with her mother. The 7-year-old went to the residence of Klaus Grabowski, a 35-year-old neighbor and butcher, to play with his cats. Grabowski abducted Anna before strangling her with his fiancee’s pantyhose. Grabowski placed the body in a box and dumped it on the bank of a canal. 

Grabowski, a convicted sex offender who’d undergone chemical castration, alleged that Anna tried to blackmail her. He claimed that Anna threatened to say he’d sexually assaulted her if she didn’t give her money. 

Bachmeier said she couldn’t listen to Grabowski spread more lies about her daughter. “I heard he wanted to make a statement,” she said. “I thought, now comes the next lie about this victim who was my child.”

Under the existing Nazi-era law in West Germany, Bachmeier was guilty of murder. The law stated that killing a defenseless person – for example, Grabowski in the courtroom – constituted murder. Therefore, prosecutors charged Marianne with premeditated murder. 

Under different circumstances, the court would have convicted Bachmeier. However, national uproar forced prosecutors to drop the murder charge. 

Bachmeier had given up two children for adoption and tied her tubes before Anna’s murder

After hearing Bachmeier’s story, the German public couldn’t help but empathize with her. 

Bachmeier was born in Sarstedt, West Germany, in June 1950. She was 16 when she gave birth to her first child, who she gave up for adoption as an infant. Two years later, she became pregnant again. Before the child’s birth, she was raped. Bachmeier also gave up her second baby for adoption. 

In 1973, Bachmeier welcomed Anna and had a tubal ligation, eliminating the chances of another pregnancy. She raised Anna as a single parent. 

Bachmeier must have suffered terribly following Anna’s murder. She must have been angry, too, at the killer spreading lies about her deceased daughter, and at the world, for being so cruel. 

She’d lost her daughter to murder, given up two kids, and couldn’t get pregnant again. Bachmeier had brought three children into the world but hadn’t fully experienced the pitfalls and joys of motherhood. 

After leaving jail, Bachmeier married in 1985 and moved to Nigeria with her husband. In 1990, Bachmeier moved to Sicily following the couple’s divorce. She returned to Germany after doctors diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer. 

Marianne Bachmeier died in September 1996 in Lubeck, Germany. Lukas Maria Bohmer, a reporter for NDR, filmed the last stages of Bachmeier’s life. She was buried alongside her daughter, Anna. 

“I did it for you, Anna,” Bachmeier famously wrote when a doctor asked her to provide a writing sample. She decorated the sample with seven hearts, possibly representing the seven years Anna lived.