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35 years for killer paramedic soldier

2022-02-23  Maria Amakali

35 years for killer paramedic soldier

A former military paramedic, convicted of killing his former girlfriend and mother of his child, was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment yesterday.

Passing sentence in the High Court, Judge Naomi Shivute said when Johannes Neuaka (42) shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, Zya Juliet Shane Rittmann (25), it was not done in the heat of the moment, but the act was premeditated. 

This indicates Neuaka, a father of 11, has no respect for human life, said Shivute. 

The court sentenced Neuaka to 28 years for murder, two years for attempted murder, three years on another count of attempted murder and six months for assault. 

The court further sentenced him to serve one year for pointing a firearm, one year for negligently discharging a firearm, two years for being in possession of an unlicensed pistol and one year for unlawful possession of ammunition.

The sentence on the counts of negligently discharging a firearm, pointing of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, will run concurrently with that of unlawful possession of a firearm. This gives Neuaka an effective prison term of 35 years and six months.

The court declared Neuaka unfit to possess a firearm for five years.

The order will take effect after he has served his sentence. 

The court also ordered for the 9mm Makarov pistol (the murder weapon) to be returned to its rightful owner.  

“Although the accused has a lot of children to support, that burden now, unfortunately, falls on the family. Unfortunately, this is the consequence of committing a crime and incarceration is unavoidable,” said Shivute.

Speaking to New Era after court proceedings, Rittmann’s mother Goye Rittmann, said her daughter finally received justice. “I can truly say justice has been done. It has taken long but my baby finally received justice,” said Goye.

She added she has forgiven Neuaka for what he has done and will continue to take care of the former couple’s seven-year-old son. Shivute convicted Neuaka in November 2021 after she dismissed his version of events. She noted Neuaka, a trained paramedic, opted to run away after he shot Rittmann in the head instead of rendering assistance. 

The court accepted the version of Rittmann’s 15-year-old sister who is the only eyewitness to the murder. 

She informed the court she saw Neuaka pull out a gun, point it at the deceased’s head and shoot her in her mother’s home yard on Michael Angelo Street in Damara location, Katutura.

Thereafter, Neuaka allegedly jumped into a car and left. However, in his defence, Neuaka testified Rittmann was accidentally shot when she grabbed the arm he was holding the firearm with. On the date in question, he allegedly picked up a firearm while he was waiting for a friend to take him to the deceased’s mother’s residence to drop off his child. After he dropped off the child, Neuaka said, the deceased wanted to see the pistol and as he lifted it at a 90-degree angle to make it safe, she suddenly pulled his arm down and a shot went off striking her in the face. He further said that he did not have the intention to kill the deceased and that he left the scene because he was shocked and confused, and it was only later that he calmed down and decided to hand himself over to the police.

2022-02-23  Maria Amakali

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