A former farmworker of double murder accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser testified yesterday in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Christie Liebenberg about a shotgun Lichtenstrasser gave him in 2016 to protect his livestock.
Immanuel Hangula told the judge that he started working for Lichtenstrasser in 2016 at the latter’s farm near Okahaluni village in the Okongo district of Ohangwena.
He further said that he still resides at the farm although he is no longer employed by Lichtenstrasser or his wife.
Angula said he has a mahangu field which he tends at the farm.
According to Hangula, he used to look after the livestock of Lichtenstrasser and his wife until she relocated livestock to another farm and Lichtenstrasser gave him the shotgun and at least 15 shells over three years to ward of predators like jackals.
He used four of the shells for target practising, he told the court.
In cross-examination, Albert Titus, the legal aid lawyer representing the accused told the witness that Lichtenstrasser denies giving him the gun and the ammunition.
The witness, however, remained adamant that Lichtenstrasser gave the weapon as a means to protect his livestock. The testimony is concerning a charge of the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition, which Lichtenstrasser faces along with the double murder charges.
Lichtenstrasser is on trial for the murder of Eckhardt Mueller who was the executive director of NIMT at the time and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig who were gunned down at the entrance of the Arandis Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology offices at the Erongo mining town on 15 April 2019.
Lichtenstrasser pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of possessing a firearm without a licence, and further charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition at the start of his trial.
He did not provide a plea explanation and Titus confirmed the pleas and told the court his client will make use of his constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent and put the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him.
The prosecution alleges that Lichtenstrasser, a former lecturer at NIMT Tsumeb campus, shot and killed Mueller and Hellwig.
It is alleged that before the tragic shooting, Lichtenstrasser was employed at the Tsumeb campus of the institution for a couple of years, which was close to his residence at Otavi and was unhappy about a decision to transfer him to the Keetmanshoop campus.
However, it is stated, the two deceased were steadfast in their decision about the transfer despite his remonstrations.
Lichtenstrasser remains in police custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.
The State is represented by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef.