Windhoek High Court judge Dinnah Usiku on Friday again had to postpone the trial of three men charged with the brutal murder of elderly farmers Gielam Botha (78) and his wife Susara Botha (80).
The alleged murders took place at their farm, Lindeshof near Köes in the Keetmanshoop district.
This came after the defence counsels for the accused informed the judge their clients are disputing confessions they purportedly made to magistrate Philanda Christiaan in Keetmanshoop. According to the counsels, their clients claim that the confessions were not made freely and voluntarily.
The judge remanded the matter to today for a trial within a trial, to determine the admissibility of the confessions.
Julius Frederick Arndt (42) Andries Afrikaner (39) and Johannes Christiaan (38) face two counts of murder, two counts of housebreaking with intent
to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances,
one count of rape, alternatively violating a dead body, conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and/or rape and housebreaking with intent to steal as well as theft.
It is alleged that the three accused broke into the house of the deceased during the late hours of 1 February 2018 and stole at least N$550 in cash, one measuring tape, an electrical plug, a tyre pressure gauge and a bulb.
After the deceased discovered the theft, they arranged for burglar bars to be installed at their residence, but before this could be affected, the accused returned the very next night and gained entrance by breaking open windows or doors, the indictment read. During the ransacking of the residence, it is alleged, they came across the elderly couple and murdered Gielam by hitting him with a piece of iron and shooting him in the mouth with a rifle that belonged to the deceased. Thereafter, it is said, they raped the elderly woman or had intercourse with her dead body after they stabbed her several times and strangled her with a shoelace.
The indictment further states that the accused, after their dastardly deeds, managed to open the garage door and loaded the stolen property onto the deceased’s motor vehicle and drove off.
According to the State, the accused acted in common purpose at all material times.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges at the start of their trial. After the gruesome murder was discovered, the police and members of the community launched a massive manhunt and they were arrested within hours of the discovery.
During their various appearances in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court, protests were held against the granting of bail to them.
Arndt and Afrikaner are in custody pending trial at the trial-awaiting section of the Windhoek Correctional Facility and Christiaan is free on bail.
He was granted bail in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court. Arndt is represented by Titus Mbaeva, Afrikaner by Linus Samaria and Christiaan by Tuna Nhinda, all on instructions of legal aid and the State by Marthino Olivier.