An Austrian court judge sentenced Josef Fritzl to life in prison Thursday, for allowing the child he fathered with his enslaved daughter to die without receiving any medical attention or aid, the New York Times reports.
Fritzl will spend his life sentence in a secured psychiatric hospital. The verdict effectively brings a fitting end to the compelling and sickening tale of‚ a father who drugged, imprisoned, raped (more than 3,000 times) and fathered seven children with his own daughter over the course of 24 years.
Fritzl told the jury‚ ”I regret from the bottom of my heart what I did to my family.” He also told them he wished there was a way he could “make amends” for his behavior. I don’t think anyone really cares to help him clear his guilty conscience now.
Fritzl was found guilty on all charges including rape, incest, enslavement, imprisonment, negligent homicide and slavery. Fritzl’s lawyer said he will not appeal the decison and called it “the logical consequence of his guilty plea,” according to the Times. Just two days earlier, Fritzl refused to plead guilty for the murder of one of his newborn sons, the cornerstone of the case against him. The baby, one of twins, developed breathing problems just 66 hours after birth. Fritzl refused to seek medical help and as a result, the child passed away.
Three of the seven children Fritzl fathered with his daughter were raised in the house by him and his wife. Fritzl led his wife to believe his daughter had run away from home at a young age and had abandoned the young children at home for them to care for. Elisabeth Fritzl was, all the while, living in a windowless cellar in the basement of the very same house.
Fritzl’s plot was discovered after Elisabeth’s eldest daughter, Kerstin, fell gravely ill. Fritzl agreed to seek medical attention and took her to a hospital, an event which provided the first tug on the web of incestuous and horrible behaviour that Fritzl had been weaving for nearly a quarter of a century.
Due to his age, it is unlikely Fritzl will ever be released. However, in 15 years, if he is still living, a panel of judges will decide if he is fit to re-enter normal society. I seriously doubt that is going to happen.