x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

New trial for killer because judges forgot to sign the death sentence

An American convicted of murder in Sharjah will be retried because the judges assigned to his case forgot to sign the document sentencing him to death.

Shahid King Bolsen, above, packed Martin Steiner's body in a suitcase and left it by the road.
Shahid King Bolsen, above, packed Martin Steiner's body in a suitcase and left it by the road.

ABU DHABI // An American convicted of murder in Sharjah will be retried because the judges assigned to his case forgot to sign the document sentencing him to death. Shahid King Bolsen, 38, was sentenced to death by the Sharjah Criminal Court of First Instance in 2006 for the murder of a German engineer he met online. The verdict and sentence were upheld by the Sharjah Appeal Court the next year.

But in September 2008, the Federal Supreme Court, the country's final judicial authority, sent the case back to the Appeal Court. According to court documents, it did so because the sentencing documents did not have the signatures of the judges, who must unanimously agree on death sentences. Prosecutors told the federal court that Bolsen met Martin Herbert Steiner on a social networking site and lured him to his home to kill him.

Bolsen testified that he invited Steiner to his house to talk about Islam. He claimed Steiner, whose wife and three children were out of the country, was looking for sexual relationships on the internet. On June 12, 2006, Steiner, whose Singaporean wife was out of the country at the time, went to Bolsen's home expecting a sexual encounter with an Emirati woman, prosecutors said. According to Bolsen, Steiner was drunk and aggressive. Bolsen said he drugged him with chloroform, a substance historically used as an anaesthetic, to sedate him, but ended up killing him.

After realising Steiner was dead, Bolsen strapped his body inside a suitcase and attempted to flee the country. On the night of his attempted escape through the UAE-Oman border, Bolsen changed his mind and buried the suitcase along the Dubai-Hatta Road. myoussef@thenational.ae