The 38-year-old Norwegian man who randomly attacked people with knives and a cross-bow in the historic Norwegian city of Kongsberg last fall, killing five, is believed to be “seriously mentally ill” and thus “can’t be punished,” according to his defense attorney. His trial began this week, but he’s often been refusing to testify.
Espen Andersen Bråthen set off a national emergency on the very day Norway’s new government was taking office last October. The drama challenged police resources and terrified a town known mostly for its historic roots, silver mines and an annual jazz festival.
Now Bråthen, who had a history of mental health problems, claims he regrets what he did. Before he interrupted his own testimony as his trial began, he admitted guilt on all 33 charges of murder, attempted murder and making threats. He denies criminal responsibility, however. His defense attorney claims Bråthen “fundamentally” believed he’d be reborn by murdering as many people as possible: “That’s the reality he has had and still has.”
Bråthen has been confined to a mental health institution since his deadly spree. The county court in Hokksund is expected to sentence and commit him to a locked mental health institution for an indefinite period.