This is what happened: A little over ten years ago, on March 9, 2001, 39-year-old Meiwes, a computer technician living in the German village of Wüstefeld, brought home, had sex with and killed 44-year-old Brandes, a Berlin man who lived about 250 miles away. Meiwes then ate 44 pounds of his flesh over a period of ten months. While that may sound like murder, there’s something else that should be mentioned: Brandes wanted it all to happen.
Meiwes and Brandes first communicated in February 2001, when the soon-to-be cannibal responded to Brandes’ online ad looking for someone to eat him alive—“no slaughter, but eating.” Soon they were sending daily emails to one another describing explicitly what would happen when they met. Brandes, writing as “Cator,” wrote to Meiwes, a.k.a. “Antrophagus,” on Feb. 5, saying, “I hope you’re really serious about it, because I really want it and have already met enough cyber-cannibals.”
Meiwes was serious: After turning on a video camera to record the entire process, he cut off Brandes’ penis around 6:30 p.m. If the scene hadn’t been so horrific, it could have been something out of a Three Stooges short. Meiwes’ first attempt at castration didn’t work, so he went to find a bigger knife, which did the job. Brandes, who had taken cold medicine and sleeping pills to lessen the pain, picked up half of his severed penis and attempted to bite into it, a fantasy of his for years. It didn’t work because the meat was too thick, so Meiwes boiled the halves and seasoned them with salt, pepper and garlic.
At 8 p.m., Meiwes ran a bath at Brandes’ request so that his guest could pass away peacefully as the blood drained out of his body. Brandes fell asleep in the tub as Meiwes sat in another room reading a Star Trek novel. A couple hours later, he called out for Meiwes, climbed out of the tub, and collapsed. Meiwes supported him to the bedroom. He lived a few more hours. Then, at 3:30 am, he attempted to rise out of bed and again collapsed. It was his last physical action; his whispered last words were “I have to piss.”
Forty-five minutes later, Meiwes began the dismemberment of Brandes’ body. He slashed the throat, then hung the body from a hook. As he removed pieces of flesh, he would address Brandes’ corpse, saying things like, “Shall I cut you in half, my darling?” He seasoned a piece of Brandes’ back with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and green pepper sauce (later he would state that the meat tasted like pork). He would continue to eat Brandes’ flesh until his December arrest.
In January 2004, Meiwes was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to over eight years in prison. The sentence caused an uproar. Some thought Meiwes should only have been sentenced to five years, the maximum sentence for Killing on Request. Others thought he should be put away for life. The latter group was victorious. After a second trial, in May 2006, Armin Meiwes was convicted of murder and sentenced to a life in prison. He now resides at the Kassel Penitentiary.