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Imprisoned Co-Worker Hit with $1M in Damages for Break Room Poisonings

One co-worker is dead and another lost a kidney.

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Klaus O., the German worker who was sentenced to life in prison for poisoning his co-workers, has been ordered liable to the tune of more than $1 million in damages.  

The former employee of ARI Armaturen, a control valve manufacturer in Germany, was sentenced in March 2019, but in January 2020, a 26-year-old man died nearly four years after being poisoned by Klaus O. and falling into a coma.

According to news agency dpa, via the AP, a Bielefeld court in western Germany has found the now 59-year-old Klaus O. liable and awarded 580,000 euros ($681,668.20) to the family of the 26-year-old co-worker who succumbed to his injuries.

Another associate who lost a kidney was awarded approximately $587,975 in damages. The judge also ruled that Klaus O. was responsible for past and future lost earnings.

Klaus O. worked as a locksmith at the company for 38 years. He was arrested after a co-worker found an unidentified white power on his sandwich in the break room. After the initial discovery, the company installed cameras and caught Klaus O. in the act. Investigators found that Klaus O. had been lacing food with lead, mercury and cadmium. The judge in the criminal trial described the substance as "more dangerous than all combat agents used in World War II."

Klaus didn't speak during the trial and has remained silent in regard to his motive. Prosecutors theorized that the married father of two wanted to watch his colleagues physically deteriorate.

Because of the seriousness of the case, the judge ordered Klaus to remain in prison after he serves his 15-year life sentence — standard in Germany — because he is a threat to the public.

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