MALMO, Sweden (AP) — A Swede charged with three counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder in a string of shootings that spread fear among immigrants in the city of Malmo pleaded not guilty as his trial started Monday.
Peter Mangs, 40, appeared before the court and listened quietly as the charges were read in the packed courtroom.
Mangs was arrested in November 2010 following a manhunt for a gunman police had linked to more than a dozen shootings in 2009-2010. Investigators later linked Mangs to two 2003 murders.
Chief prosecutor Solveig Wollstad presented the evidence found in Mangs' apartment, which included a gun equipped with a silencer hidden under pillows, ski masks, wigs, ammunition, and gun parts.
Wollstad claimed Mangs had used a Glock in the shootings but changed the barrels in an apparent attempt to make it harder for ballistics experts to trace bullets to the gun.
Victims were shot through windows of apartments, businesses, parked cars, or as they were walking along the street.
The shootings spread fear in Malmo — Sweden's third largest city and one of its most ethnically diverse. Forty percent of the city's 300,000 residents are first- or second-generation immigrants.
Swedish media have drawn parallels to a racist gunman who hunted down immigrants in Stockholm in the 1990s. After evading capture for nearly a year, John Ausonius was convicted of one murder and nine attempted murders and is now serving a life sentence.
Comparisons have also been made between the Malmo shootings and the killing of 77 people in Norway last July by Anders Behring Breivik.