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It's bad enough if cannibals attack unwilling participants. But Armin Meiwes had a willing participant that he murdered and ate.

Is Armin Meiwes most similar cannibal to Hannibal Lecter ever?

On first glance, Armin Meiwes seems like your average German man. He’s a computer technician, mild-mannered and in jail. Oh, and he posted on Craigslist looking for a volunteer who he could eat. 

If you think that part of the story is weird, it gets weirder when you realize that someone actually agreed to the plan. With that, Meiwes fate was sealed in 2001 when he killed this man and ate the majority of his flesh. But Meiwes’ journey to prison was far from simple. 

It's bad enough if cannibals attack unwilling participants. But Armin Meiwes had a willing participant that he murdered and ate.

Curiosity killed the Craigslist man

In 2001, on the website The Cannibal Critic, Armin Meiwes made a post looking for someone to come over and let him eat him. Meiwes did not make anyone come against their will, and was waiting for a willing participant. In March 2001, engineer Bernd Jurgen Armando Brandes answered the call willingly, looking to join in.

On March 9th, 2001, the two recorded a video in Meiwes’ apartment, to capture the cannibalistic activity. First, Brandes took about 20 sleeping pills and drank and entire bottle of cough syrup. Meiwes then amputated Brandes’ penis, and the two attempted to eat it together. The experiment failed, and Meiwes fed the chunks to his dog.

As blood loss was causing Brandes to fade in and out of consciousness, Meiwes drew a bath for his victim, checking in on him every 15 minutes. Finally, Meiwes put Brandes out of his misery, slicing his throat. Hanging him from a meat hook, Meiwes dismembered the corpse, storing meat in his freezer and slowly eating it over the next 10 months.

It's bad enough if cannibals attack unwilling participants. But Armin Meiwes had a willing participant that he murdered and ate.

Catching a cannibal

Over a year and a half after the murder, Meiwes was finally arrested by police on charges of manslaughter. A college student alerted authorities to the post after copy cat posts popped up on the website. January 2004, he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced for eight years and six months in jail. 

While in jail, he became a vegetarian, and discouraged anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps. “They should go for treatment, so it doesn’t escalate like it did with me.” It was clear he felt remorse for his actions, as his sexual kink went too far. 

It's bad enough if cannibals attack unwilling participants. But Armin Meiwes had a willing participant that he murdered and ate.

8 years to life

A year after Meiwes was convicted, a German court ordered a retrial on his case, arguing he was mischarged for manslaughter, and should’ve been charged with murder. Based on the video, it was clear he murdered out of sexual gratification, not just because Brandes wanted him to kill.

The court found him guilty of murder, and Armin Meiwes’ sentence increased from eight and a half years to life in prison. The main reason for life in prison was the prosecution argued that he still found cannibalism sexually appealing, and would attack again if free. 

Meiwes, while disappointed in the decision, did acknowledge the truth of the prosecution’s statements. He is still serving his sentence to date, and still shows remorse for murdering Brandes.

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