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Former paramedic guilty of ex-girlfriend’s murder

2021-11-26  Maria Amakali

Former paramedic guilty of ex-girlfriend’s murder
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The Windhoek High Court found that a former military paramedic, who was on trial for gunning down his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, was guilty of murder with direct intent to kill. 

Judge Naomi Shivute convicted Johannes Neuaka (42) on a count of murder with direct intent, two counts of attempted murder, and one charge of assault – all charges are read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.

He was also found guilty on the count of discharging a firearm in a public place, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of an unlicensed pistol and unlawful possession of ammunition. 

The conviction emanates from the death of his ex-girlfriend, Zya Juliet Shane Rittmann (25), whom he shot in the head on 21 January 2018. 

The couple had a six-year-old boy. 

Handing down her ruling, Shivute said if Neuaka, who is a trained military man, was indeed truly innocent as he claimed, why would he run away from the scene after a gunshot went off because he was shocked? Shivute also questioned, why didn’t Neuaka as a trained paramedic render assistance to Rittmann who was on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head? 

Shivute further said, the use of a firearm which is a lethal weapon, threats Neuaka made towards Rittmann about killing her and his behaviour after the incident, do not paint him as an innocent person. 

The court dismissed Neuaka’s version that Rittmann was accidentally shot when she grabbed the arm, he was holding the firearm with. 

Neuaka testified that on the day in question, he picked up the 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.

Neuaka said although their relationship was stormy, he denied ever assaulting or attempting to kill Rittmann. 

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

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

Thereafter, Neuaka allegedly jumped into a car and left. 

Rittmann’s mother, Goye Rittmann testified that Neuaka and Rittmann had a violent relationship in which her daughter complained of being physically abused by Neuaka.

She further testified that on one occasion, Neuaka threatened to kill Rittmann, put her body in a bag and take her to South Africa. 

He is scheduled to return to court on 3 December, for the State and defence to set a date for oral submissions.

Through the trial, Neuaka was represented by Mbanga Siyomunji, while Ethel Ndlovu was present for the State. 

-mamakali@nepc.com.na


2021-11-26  Maria Amakali

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