Mar 19,2009 00:00
ST. POELTEN, Austria -- An Austrian jury Thursday sentenced Josef Fritzl to life in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital for the death of a baby he fathered with his daughter.
The jury also unanimously found Fritzl, 73, guilty of other charges in imprisoning his daughter, Elisabeth, in a cellar beneath his home in Amstetten, where he repeatedly raped her and fathered seven children by her over a 24-year period, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The jury in St. Poelten found Fritzl guilty of charges he admitted to earlier this week, including murder, incest, rape and coercion, as well as slavery, making him the first person to be convicted of that offense in Austria, the Telegraph said.
Fritzl lured his then-18-year-old daughter into the cellar in 1984, where he imprisoned and raped her repeatedly until 2008, when the situation became known after one of their children was taken to the hospital.
The murder charge related to another child who died a few days after he was born. The boy developed breathing difficulties but Fritzl refused to seek medical help, making him guilty of "homicide by neglect," the British newspaper said.
Fritzl, who earlier said he was innocent of the murder slavery charges, apologized "from the bottom of my heart" for the horrific life he charted for his daughter, saying he wished he could "make amends" for his crimes.
Even though Fritzl pleaded guilty to all of the counts, the Austrian judicial system required the jury to consider his guilt and assess his punishment.
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