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Norwegian man convicted of killing 5 in bow-and-arrow attack

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A man was found guilty Friday of murder and attempted murder for fatally stabbing five people and wounding four others in southern Norway when he attacked strangers with a bow and arrows and knives.

The Buskerud District Court sentenced Espen Andersen Bråthen to compulsory mental health care. Three forensic psychiatric experts who assessed him concluded he has chronic paranoid schizophrenia and was mentally ill at the time of the attack on Oct. 13, 2021. Both the prosecution and the defense had called for compulsory mental health care for Andersen Bråthen.

Andersen Bråthen was found guilty of 11 counts of attempted murder for shooting at people with a bow and arrows in Kongsberg, a former mining town of 26,000 people. He was carrying 62 arrows and four knives at the time of the attack.

The three-judge court said the defendant had explained during the trial that started in May and lasted until June 6 “that he had decided to kill people in order to achieve rebirth. He said he thought he was going to go blind. The accused therefore believed that it was urgent to kill.”

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Andersen Bråthen had watched “a large number of videos” showing situations where people were stabbed, and had explained “that he watched such videos to learn how to use weapons so that they became as deadly as possible,” the court said.

The 38-year-old’s defense lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, said, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, that his client “had delusions with religious and magical content.”

“We are dealing with a sick person. A person who is without guilt,” prosecutor Andreas Christiansen said in his final speech, Norwegian news agency NTB wrote. Another prosecutor, Vibeke Gjøslien Martins, said that he “did not stop until he was arrested, and he had a clear and distinct goal of killing more,” NRK quoted her as saying.

Andersen Bråthen was arrested more than half an hour after he started firing arrows inside a grocery store and attacking people inside their homes. He attacked people with knives after his bow broke, the court said.

Andersen Bråthen also was sentenced to pay compensations to the victims.

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