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Lichtenstrasser undergoes further tests

2023-11-30  Roland Routh

Lichtenstrasser undergoes further tests

Ernst Lichtenstrasser, the man who shot his bosses at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT)’s entrance in 2019 in cold blood, was sent to the Windhoek Central Hospital for further tests this week.

While doctors at the Windhoek Central and Katutura Intermediate Hospitals were tight-lipped on his condition, it seems that he is out of danger after a suspected suicide attempt last week.

In a letter directed to the court on Monday, Dr KJ Katjomuise said he was on a ventilator after he allegedly tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of Tramadol and Zolpidem at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. 

During his evidence-in-chief in the trial, Lichtenstrasser told the court that he takes Tramadol for an injury he sustained on his shoulder during the liberation war. He also said he was taking other tablets to help him sleep. It is currently not clear how he managed to get hold of the medication, but it is widely speculated that he hoarded the tablets by not drinking them at the specified times. 

Lichtenstrasser told Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg during his testimony in mitigation that he would prefer the death penalty as a sentence, as it would be undignified to die in prison. He also indicated that he would prefer house arrest. The pre-sentencing hearing was, in the meantime, postponed to next Tuesday for a status hearing on his condition.

Liebenberg convicted Lichtenstrasser of the murders of two of his superiors at NIMT - executive director at the time Eckhardt Mueller - and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig. 

The two died in a hail of bullets during the early morning hours of 15 April 2019 after being gunned down at the NIMT office’s entrance at Arandis.

Lichtenstrasser has indicated to the court that he would call three witnesses - a psychologist, a friend of his, and his sister, who had to come from Germany to testify on his behalf. It is not clear if the sister has arrived from Germany yet.

In aggravation of sentence, Sabine Hellwig, the wife of Heinz, testified that she lost her soulmate, and has not come to terms with her husband’s death. 

“It has not really sunk in yet,” she told the judge in an emotional state. She added that she would never be able to forget the scene when she had to identify the body of her husband.

Dietlinde Jacobs, the daughter of Mueller, told the court in aggravation of sentence that she would never be able to forgive Lichtenstrasser for what he did to her family. 

“Who would kill such upstanding men like dogs in the street, that cowardly?” she asked Lichtenstrasser.

The accused offered his condolences to both women, but reiterated his stance that he had nothing to do with the murders. 

Lichtenstrasser is now representing himself after he fired Legal Aid lawyer Albert Titus, while the State is represented by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef. -

2023-11-30  Roland Routh

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