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I had tunnel vision – Lichtenstrasser

2022-12-07  Roland Routh

I had tunnel vision – Lichtenstrasser

Self-admitted murderer Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser said he was in two minds just before he fired the shots that killed two senior executives of the NIMT institute in Arandis.

“One voice was saying they are my enemies and we are on a mission, and the other was saying we should talk to the guys – and is it worth it; is it worth it?” 

Lichtenstrasser mentioned this in a confession that was read into the court record yesterday by inspector Reinhardt Maletzky, who was part of the team investigating the murders. 

In the recording, Lichtenstrasser admitted he killed Eckhardt Mueller, who was the executive director at the time, and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig by firing several shots at them at the entrance of the Arandis NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town on 15 April 2019.  He said he drove from his residence to Arandis the previous evening between 22h00 and 23h00 but realised when he got there that he was too early. 

He then decided to drive into the desert for a few kilometres, where he kept popping strong painkillers with booze, and he hallucinated with voices in his head, talking to him, asking him “is it worth it; is it worth it?” – and the other one saying Mueller deserved it – that he was his enemy and that he is on a mission.

The next morning, he said, he drove to the NIMT Campus and waited for Mueller and Hellwig. 

When he saw their car approaching, he followed them and parked behind them. 

He was still unsure of what to do at that stage, he said, but when “Henry” saw him and asked him what he was doing there, he took out the gun and went into training mode; it became automatic when Mueller said to him in German: “What are you doing here? Get lost”. 

“That is when I lost it, and it became automatic; I had tunnel vision. I did not see people – I only saw shades, targets and then it was just pop, pop, pop, bam, bam, bam,” Lichtenstrasser said in the recording. 

According to him, he thinks he shot Hellwig first because he thinks Hellwig threw himself in front of Mueller, but that Hellwig did not fall immediately and he kept on firing. He said after the body shots, he went over and fire two more shots into the heads of Hellwig and Mueller. 

“That is when your training comes in,” he said and added it is called the Mozambican drill; shots to the body and then two to the head. Lichtenstrasser further said he must have “exaggerated” with Mueller. 

According to him, it was his tone of voice of Mueller that pushed him over the edge. 

“That voice; the way he talked,” Lichtenstrasser said in the recording. 

From there, he said, he drove in the direction of Usakos and then went into the desert, where he buried the firearm he used and some live projectiles he still had on him. From his directions, the police found parts of a gun, 18 live bullets and a holster buried under a rock in the desert near Arandis. 

Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg admitted the confession into evidence.

Lichtenstrasser pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of possessing a firearm without a licence and further charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition at the start of his trial. 

The matter continues today, and Lichtenstrasser remains in custody. 

He is represented by Legal Aid lawyer Albert Titus and the State by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef.

2022-12-07  Roland Routh

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