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Suspect in Norway reconstructs killings for investigators

OSLO, Norway — The chilling images of Anders Behring Breivik simulating shots at the island where he has acknowledged killing 69 people at a youth camp were broadcast Sunday after police brought him back there.

For eight hours on Saturday, Breivik showed the police how he had stalked his victims, at times holding up his arms as if pretending to take aim at fleeing members of a political youth camp who were his targets on the island of Utoya near Oslo.

Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby, a police prosecutor, said Sunday that the simulation was needed to clarify details of the attack that would be presented at Breivik's trial, which is expected to begin sometime next year. But he offered little new information to a nation struggling to come to terms with the deadliest act of violence on its soil since World War II.

Wearing a bulletproof vest and a leash held by a police guard, he described the shootings in close detail during an eight-hour tour on the island with up to a dozen police, Hjort Kraby told a news conference.

A prosecutor also confirmed Norwegian media reports that police received several phone calls during the attack that were probably from Breivik himself, but wouldn't say how police had reacted to the calls. According to Norwegian daily Aftenposten, Breivik offered to surrender several times and asked police to call him back, but they didn't.

Breivik, a 32-year-old self-described Christian crusader, shot the victims at the lake island after killing another eight people in the capital with a bomb. His lawyer has said he has confessed to the terror attacks, but denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe from Muslims and punish politicians who have embraced multiculturalism.

Most of his victims were affiliated with the Labor Party, the leader of the country's governing coalition, which has helped turn Norway into a haven for asylum seekers from many of the world's war-torn regions. Breivik wrote in a 1,500-page manifesto that Norway's Muslim immigrants were undermining the country's traditional Christian values.

The camp on Utoya, which was organized by the youth wing of the Labor Party, was a symbol of the diversity Breivik despised. Among the nearly 600 participants were children of immigrants who were preparing to start political careers.

On Saturday, Breivik walked roughly the same route as the one he took during the shooting rampage and explained what happened with as little interference as possible from police, Hjort Kraby said.

The entire simulation was filmed by police and may later be used in court, he added.

Video images of the reconstruction published by the Norwegian daily VG show Breivik arriving at Utoya with the same ferry he used to get to the island last month.

Breivik is seen pointing out locations along the way and simulating shots into the water, where panicked teenagers dove in to try to escape from him.

"The suspect showed he wasn't emotionally unaffected by being back at Utoya … but didn't show any remorse," Hjort Kraby told reporters. "He has been questioned for around 50 hours about this, and he has always been calm, detailed and collaborative, and that was also the case on Utoya."

The simulation was arranged to avoid the need for a reconstruction in the midst of the trial and to make Breivik remember more details, Hjort Kraby said.

Breivik faces up to 21 years in prison if he is convicted on terrorism charges, but an alternative custody arrangement — if he is still considered a danger to the public — could keep him behind bars indefinitely.

Information from the Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report.

Suspect in Norway reconstructs killings for investigators 08/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2011 12:28am]

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