The trial of Gustav G. began on Wednesday in Winterthur in the canton of Zurich in a case that has attracted national attention.
The man is alleged to have strangled his son Florian a day before the boy’s fifth birthday on February 26th 2010, because he feared his mother would kidnap him to Brazil, according to media reports.
The father took sleeping pills and attempted to commit suicide with a fire extinguisher but this activated a fire alarm in the Sorell Hotel Krone, Winterthur, where he had booked a room.
Gustav G. had written a note reproaching the boy’s mother for being a “prostitute on the run”, 20Minuten reported.
In a decision later criticized by authorities, Gustav G had been given custody of the son over the estranged mother.
This occurred despite the fact he was earlier convicted of attempted murder after attacking his son from a previous marriage in 1990, 20Minuten said.
He was sentenced to eight years in jail for choking the then 13-year-old boy, punching him and throwing him into a ravine, the news site said.
The victim was permanently disabled by the attack.
The mother of Florian, who worked as a prostitute, feared for the boy’s life and attempted to gain guardianship over him however authorities in the community of Bonstetten turned down her demands.
After Florian’s death, the mayor Bonstetten, Charles Hoehn, resigned in June 2011, citing health concerns in the wake of intense media coverage of the custody decision.