The Windhoek High Court had to temporarily halt the trial of two Americans accused of killing a Namibian man 10 years ago due to the ill-health of a defence lawyer. Judge Chistie Liebenberg made an order for the hearing to resume on 30 August.
“I cannot take any chances, seeing that counsel is not fit to proceed and bearing in mind that we are dealing with a pandemic. Although we want the trial finalised, this is an unforeseen circumstance,” he said. Marcus Thomas (36) and co-accused Kevan Townsend (35) have been on trial 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 – charges they have denied.
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 Andre Heckmair, and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol. After they managed to contact Heckmair, they allegedly lured him to a quiet Klein Windhoek street, where they shot him once in the head and robbed him of his cell phone and wallet containing 100 Swiss franc.
Thomas and Townsend were arrested at a guesthouse in Windhoek on the evening after the killing. They continue to be detained at the Windhoek Correctional Facility pending the finalisation of their trial.
The two men are being represented by local lawyers Lilian Mbaeva and Mbanga Siyomunji. - email@example.com