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Suspect: Two Waited For German Tourist Outside Adult Entertainment Club

July 12, 1996 GMT

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) _ Two men were charged with murder Thursday in the deadly carjacking of a German tourist outside a Florida nightclub.

Police said 19-year-old Alfred Rhiner, caught driving the stolen Mercedes-Benz 800 miles from the crime scene, confessed to taking part in the shooting and implicated a second man. Jamie Lee, 23, who was arrested Thursday at his home in Florida.

Rhiner and Lee were both charged with murder, grand auto theft and robbery in the slaying of lawyer Gerd-Ulrich Ladwig, 50, in Fort Myers, Fla. Rhiner, arrested Wednesday, waived extradition from this mountain resort town.

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Rhiner told police he and Lee had waited in the parking lot of the club and decided to rob the most expensive-looking car that drove in. Ladwig became the target when he drove in just after midnight Monday in his 1989 silver Mercedes-Benz.

Police said Ladwig was forced into the trunk and driven to an isolated location, police said. He was stripped, robbed and shot repeatedly with a 9 mm handgun, police said. Gatlinburg police found a gun in the glove compartment of the Mercedes after they took Rhiner into custody on Wednesday.

Ladwig, 50, of Hanover, Germany, was on vacation since June 30 with his wife, Sylvia, and their 12-year-old son. The family was staying at the Fort Myers home of Mrs. Ladwig’s brother, Dr. Heinz Dieter Vogtland, who was on vacation overseas.

Ladwig told his wife he was having trouble sleeping and left shortly before midnight Monday to have a drink at the upscale restaurant Peter’s La Cuisine in the city on Florida’s southwest coast. He never showed up.

His body was found in a remote area on the outskirts of the city Tuesday morning, and police said blood found at the scene suggested he was shot there.

The slaying, the third tourist killing in the state this year, rekindled concerns about Florida’s fun-and-sun image abroad that only recently rebounded from a string of tourist-related killings in 1992 and 1993.

The state’s tourism industry was hurt by a string of 10 tourist-related slayings over those two years, including that of four Germans.