Charged with murder: a friend on trial

Authors: Christian Bauer, Daniela Agostini. Human interest - BR - 2009 - 90 min

A murder case and a trial purely resting on circumstantial evidence, presented from an unusual perspective: This documentary follows a group of young people – all well educated and established in their professional careers – who stick by an old school friend who is accused of having brutally murdered his aunt – for reason of avarice. Not one of his friends can believe he’s guilty. Frauke, his fiancé, Mate, the brother, his closest friends Jochen, Matthi and Michi. They have known the accused murderer for a long time, and very well – no one thinks that their friend is capable of murder, even less of such a brutal deed.

Investigators, however, soon become convinced that they have the right man. Evidence collected at the scene of crime, the defendants conflict-prone relationship to his aunt, the motive for a crime and the missing alibi – all evidence considered, Bence Toth – so the name of the friend – is the most likely suspect. On May 15, 2006, the police believes, he ambushed his wealthy aunt Charlotte Böhringer, who was about to leave her penthouse on top of a downtown Munich parking garage, and shattered her skull with approximately 24 blows. His alleged motive: fear of being disinherited.

The circle of friends doesn‘t believe in the conclusiveness of the chain of evidence presented in court. They accuse police and prosecution of not following important leads in favor of their friend, and they are appalled that the judges repeatedly dismiss motions presented by the defence. It still seems completely out of the question that their always polite and helpful friend could have committed a crime like this.

This documentary is not taking sides, it rather shows a bunch of young people in an unanticipated and exceptional situation, which throws them off track – and changes them.

In the end the verdict is spoken: it can either be acquittal, or life.

And still the friends stick by their friend – this film is an emphatic document of friendship.