German war criminal seeks to avoid jail

A German Army officer convicted of ordering a wartime massacre of Italian civilians says he is too sick to serve time in jail.

Munich prosecutor's office spokeswoman Barbara Stockinger said Tuesday that doctors will now have to evaluate Josef Scheungraber, 92, to determine whether to allow him to remain free for health reasons.

Scheungraber was convicted last year of 10 counts of murder and one of attempted murder and sentencing to life in prison. His appeal was rejected in October.

Scheungraber was a 25-year-old Wehrmacht lieutenant during the June 1944 killings in Falzano di Cortona.

After partisans had killed two German soldiers, Scheungraber ordered 11 civilians to be herded into a barn that was then blown up. One teenage boy survived the blast.