An Austrian who fathered seven children with a daughter he held captive in a squalid cellar for 24 years refused to even speak to her for years, coming only to rape her, often in front of the youngsters, a prosecutor said Monday.
Wearing a mismatched gray suit and hiding his face behind a folder as the trial began, Josef Fritzl pleaded guilty to incest and false imprisonment, but he denied enslaving his daughter Elisabeth or murdering her newborn son. He pleaded only partially guilty to additional counts of rape and coercion.
The 73-year-old Fritzl faces up to life in prison if convicted of the negligent homicide charge, which stems from the death of the 2-day-old baby boy, who investigators contend might have survived if he had gotten medical care. Incest, by contrast, carries only a one-year sentence.
A verdict could come as early as Thursday, officials said.