Defense Lawyer: Fritzl ‘Not A Monster’

ST. POELTEN, Austria — The defense lawyer for an Austrian man accused of locking his daughter in a homemade dungeon and fathering her seven children says his client is “not a monster.”

Josef Fritzl has pleaded guilty to incest. But he insists he’s innocent of murder and enslavement charges. His trial is beginning today.

Police say the 73-year-old has confessed to holding his daughter in the cell built beneath his home for 24 years. Investigators say DNA tests show he fathered her six surviving children.

Another child died in infancy, and prosecutors say if he had allowed the baby to get medical attention, it would have survived. He is charged with murder in the infant’s death.

But his defense attorney says if Fritzl were a monster, he would have killed them all. He says his client even brought a Christmas tree to down the basement.

Fritzl faces life in prison.