A parole hearing began on Tuesday for Kjell Alrich Schumann, the man sentenced to 16 years in prison for the murder of a policeman during Norway’s biggest ever robbery. Schumann told the Eidsivating appeals court in Hamar that he had given up his criminal ways, and was ready for a fresh start.
Schumann was one of the masterminds behind the NOKAS robbery in Stavanger in 2004, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). The NOK 57.4 million (USD 9.6 million) heist of the NOKAS cash depot involved 15 men, and was the biggest theft in Norwegian history. Schumann shot and killed police inspector Arne Sigve Klungland in a gunfight outside the Stavanger Cathedral after the robbery. The gang was later linked to the theft of priceless masterpieces The Scream and Madonna from the Munch Museum in Oslo, in a bid to distract police investigating the NOKAS theft.
Schumann applied for parole in December 2012 after serving his minimum sentence of 10 years. A court in Trondheim ruled in December last year that Schumann had met the conditions for early release, but prosecutors appealed the decision.
“I regret very strongly what happened in Stavanger, and I have distanced myself from it,” Schumann said from the witness stand. “I have though a lot about what has happened, and it has gone far into me. I’m ready to be released.”
The 48-year-old said he had been changed by several reconciliation meetings with Klungland’s family and had now rejected his life of crime, because he wanted to build relationships with his two children. He planned to move to the basement of his parents’ farm in Åsnes, and had been offered a job by a local contractor.
Psychologist Svein Øverland argued the career criminal had committed several crimes while legitimately employed, so the job offer was no deterrent to steal. Prosecutor Tormod Haugnes argued Schumann was still too dangerous to be released, and he’d been uncooperative over the remaining NOK 50 million still missing after the robbery.