On March 18 Josef Fritzel, on trial for imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and fathering her seven children pleaded guilty on all the charges against him, his change in pleas came after his daughter unexpectedly appeared in the courtroom.
Josef has previously pleaded guilty to the charges of rape, incest, enslavement, forced imprisonment and coercion but not on homicide. The sudden change in his plea on the third day of trial surprised even his lawyer.
Fritzel, 73, acknowledged his guilt as he told a panel of judges, I declare myself guilty to the charges in the indictment, the Associated Press reported.
He referred to his actions as my sick behavior.
Elisabeth was the prosecution's key witness against Fritzl. Now 42, she was 18 when he imprisoned her in the cramped, windowless cell he built beneath the family's home in the town of Amstetten. He then raped her for years.
Fritzel when asked by a presiding judge what caused him to change his mind said it was the testimony from Elizabeth.
.However, a person familiar with the trial told The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity, that Elisabeth herself was in the courtroom on both days, the Associated Press reported.
This suggests her presence alone might have unnerved Fritzl and prompted him to change his pleas.
The homicide charge came for the death of an infant twin boy born to Elisabeth in April 1996 who prosecutors say might have survived with proper medical care had he and his mother not been locked in the basement.
Elisabeth and her six surviving children, who range in age from 6 to 20, have spent months recovering from their ordeal in a psychiatric clinic and at a secret location.
She is described by prosecutors as a broken woman.