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American man sentenced to life for attack on 2 Illinois women

Neuschwanstein castle in southern Germany
Matthias Schrader
AP file
An American man attacked two Illinois women near Neuschwanstein castle in southern Germany, killing one.

A 31-year-old American man has been convicted by a German court and sentenced to life for the murder, rape and attempted murder of two Illinois women in Bavaria last June.

University of Illinois graduates Kelsey Chang, originally from Bloomington, and Eva Liu of Naperville were traveling together near Neuschwanstein castle, a popular tourist site in the Alps, when the man brutally attacked Liu.

Chang intervened and was pushed into a steep gorge, falling 165 feet. The man then raped and strangled Liu with a belt, sending her down the same slope while unconscious. Both women were transported to a hospital by helicopter; Chang survived and Liu, who was 21 at the time of the attack, died in the hospital.

In his judgment, Judge Schwiebacher noted the severity of the crime.

“He disposed of her like a bag of garbage,” Schwiebacher said.

According to multiple media outlets, the court discovered video footage and a photo the defendant took during the attack and intended to keep as a “trophy.” He was arrested near the scene and admitted to the crimes at the beginning of the trial.

Convicted persons in Germany serving a life sentence may be eligible for parole in 15 years; the judge imposing “particular gravity of guilt,” means that is unlikely in this case.

German privacy laws protect the identities of victims and perpetrators. Chang and Liu’s family and friends identified the two women.

The defendant has a week to appeal the decision. The question of extradition to the United States will not be determined until final judgment is made.

Lauren Warnecke is a reporter at WGLT. You can reach Lauren at lewarne@ilstu.edu.