TV review: “Death in the bathtub – murder or accident?” – Media

There is much that is surprising about this case. Including a seemingly irrelevant detail. However, it may be the decisive factor in the fact that Manfred Genditzki is now being tried again in court. The man who is accused of murder looks forward to this trial with trepidation, at the same time he longs for it. Because he hopes to be acquitted by the retrial, which is scheduled to begin at the end of April, after he has already been found guilty twice in this matter and has spent a total of more than 13 years in prison.

In October 2008, an 87-year-old woman was found dead in her bathtub in Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee. The police and prosecutors still assume that it was a murder and that Genditzki is the perpetrator. There is no evidence, nor is there a strong motive, and anyone who takes a closer look at the case can hardly resist the impression that the evidence in court was consistently judged to Genditzki’s disadvantage. Meike Pommer encodes this in her 90-minute television documentary Death in the bathtub – murder or accident? detailed on, a co-production of SWR and NDR.

But your film tells another story, that of an alleged triviality: Manfred Genditzki’s social environment has remained largely intact. His second wife, the children from his first and second marriages, his sister, his best friend, who was also targeted by the investigators, his former classmates, even Peter Janssen, the former mayor of Tegernsee: They all stand by Genditzki to this day. “I never gave up,” says the man convicted of murder himself. Would he have held out even if his family and friends had dropped him?

Solidarity with those convicted of murder is great

Something always gets stuck, it is commonly said when there is serious suspicion. Even if it turns out to be unfounded. Meike Pommer spoke to many people for her film. With family members, friends and acquaintances. With the extremely reflective forensic doctor Klaus Püschel, with the biophysicist Syn Schmitt, with lawyers, also with two court reporters who have reported extensively on this case and the trials against Manfred Genditzki over the years: with Gisela Friedrichsen from Mirror and Hans Holzhaider from this newspaper. None of them recognize a sign that is strong enough to make the old woman’s death appear as murder – and Manfred Genditzki as the perpetrator.

The film’s strength is that it doesn’t scandalize the case. But very matter-of-factly the reasons – legal-technical as well as systemic – that led to the dubious guilty verdicts. And how tough and time-consuming the fight was to resume the proceedings, against which the Bavarian judiciary has long blocked itself.

Death in the bathtub – murder or accident?, from February 7, 2023 in the ARD media library and on February 8 at 8:15 p.m. on SWR television.

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