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Americans murder trial moved again

2021-12-09  Maria Sheya

Americans murder trial moved again

The trial of two American nationals accused of murdering a young Namibian man nearly 10 years ago in Windhoek will proceed next year.

Marcus Thomas (36) and co-accused Kevin Townsend’s (35) trial was on hold to allow Thomas to get a new lawyer. 

Yesterday, defence lawyer Laura Pack came on record as Thomas’ legal representative on the instructions of the Directorate of Legal Aid. 

Judge Christie Liebenberg postponed the matter to 31 January 2022 for the continuation of trial and to allow Pack to familiarise herself with the merits of the case. The accused were remanded in police custody.

Before postponing the case, Liebenberg said, the case, which has been on the roll for a while needs to be expedited as a lot of time has been wasted. 

The case has been clouded with adjournments ranging from withdrawals of several State-funded defence lawyers who were representing them to applications for the recusal of the judge, Townsend’s lawsuit against the government over solitary confinement, applications by Thomas to be declared mentally unfit to stand trial, Thomas’ failed attempt to escape from police custody and Covid-19 lockdowns.

Thomas and Townsend are being tried on a count of murder, a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act, and a count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. 

All the charges are connected to the killing of Andre Peter Heckmair who was 25 years old at the time in Windhoek on 7 January 2011.

The prosecution is alleging that the two accused met in New York in the United States of America, where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend. 

After the release of Townsend, they travelled to Helsinki in Finland, from where they forwarded a package to Namibia containing a firearm silencer but which was labelled “furniture spare” or “table leg replacement” in preparation for their plan to travel to Namibia and allegedly kill the victim.

After they arrived in Namibia, court documents state that they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Heckmair, and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol. 

After they managed to contact Heckmair, they lured him to the quiet Gusinde Street in Windhoek’s Eros suburb, where they shot him once in the head and robbed him of his cell phone and wallet containing 100 Swiss francs.

Thomas and Townsend were arrested at a guesthouse in Windhoek on the evening after the killing.

After their arrest, the indictment further reads, they managed to steal the notebook from the police when they were brought to one of the investigators’ offices to collect their clothing and toiletries.


2021-12-09  Maria Sheya

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