US service 'brats' arrested over German murders

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The Independent Online

German tolerance towards the tens of thousands of US soldiers stationed on their soil is in danger of snapping after the arrest of three American teenagers for murder. The youths, aged between 14 and 18 and all sons of servicemen at the US base of Darmstadt, have confessed to throwing hunks of rocks on to cars from an overpass.

German tolerance towards the tens of thousands of US soldiers stationed on their soil is in danger of snapping after the arrest of three American teenagers for murder. The youths, aged between 14 and 18 and all sons of servicemen at the US base of Darmstadt, have confessed to throwing hunks of rocks on to cars from an overpass.

The attacks, on six cars, causing the deaths of two women and injury to five other motorists, provoked outrage in Germany. "Killer kids from Darmstadt," screamed the mass-circulation newspaper Bild on its front page.

Americans rarely emerge from their ghettos, where they shop with dollars at their own stores and send their children to American schools. Relations between the two communities are good, perhaps because they have almost nothing to do with each other.

But at least three boys living on Darmstadt's Lincoln Estate evidently found this life somewhat dull and, while hanging out at the local bowling alley, invented a new game. For weeks they have been visiting the dual carriageway near by, throwing stones at passing cars.

The game turned deadly serious on Sunday night when the teenagers picked out 10 rocks, each weighing about 20lbs, from a local building site. From the overpass, they dropped them with stunning precision, cheering each time they scored a hit. Two women driving separate cars died instantly.

The boys were under arrest yesterday, facing a German trial for murder. The US authorities have assured Germany of their full co-operation. The "killer kids" can expect to spend up to 10 years in a German jail if convicted.

Germany's tabloid press is making much of this very American crime, suggesting a sickness in the US community. But two copycat attacks took place yesterday, on motorways nowhere near US bases, though the drivers escaped injury.

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