Anders Breivik's reign of terror has come to an end. The Norwegian killer was ruled sane by judges and sentenced to the maximum penalty for the murders of 77 people last year.
He will now begin serving a 21-year sentence, though his release can be put off indefinitely if he is judged to be a threat to himself or society. It was a long ordeal for Norway, which is still recovering from the brutal mass murder last July. Prosecutors had argued that he was insane and unable to fully understand the sentence, but judges ruled otherwise.
"He told me he will accept this verdict," lawyer Geir Lippestand told Reuters. In court, Breivik appeared almost smug, smiling frequently as his sentence and the judges' ruling was handed down. Before being taken away, Breivik offered a one-arm salute, almost reminiscent of the Nazi salute.
Breivik admitted to blowing up a government building, which killed eight people; he then traveled to a youth camp and unleashed fire, killing 69 men, women, and children. It was a shock to the Norwegian people, and struck terror throughout the community.
"He is getting what he deserves," Alexandra Peltre, one of Breivik's victims, told Reuters. "This is karma striking back at him. I do not care if he is insane or not, as long as he gets the punishment that he deserves."
Throughout the trial, Breivik's lawyers maintained his guilt but claimed that he was fully sane and capable of withstanding trial. The prosecution, however, wanted judges to deem him insane, which would have kept him permanently in psychiatric care instead of jail.
Even though Breivik admitted to his crimes, he always maintained his sanity and told his lawyers that it was the one charge he would deny and fight. He described and insane verdict as "a fate worse than death," repots state. Now it appears as though he has gotten what he wanted.
"I stand by what I have done, and I would still do it again," Breivik told the court.