WINDHOEK - A former senior police officer of the Namibian Police Force accused of shooting an 18-year-old to death was convicted yesterday on five of the six charges that he faced in the Windhoek High Court at the Windhoek Prison Facility by Judge Dinnah Usiku.
The judge convicted Lazarus Oscar Aweseb, 51, for the murder of Odilo Rathebe Motonane on March 22, 2016 during a jealous rage; the attempted murder of Mildred Haoses as well as counts of possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of ammunition without a license and malicious damage to property. But he was acquitted on a charge of theft. Judge Usiku found that Aweseb, who was a Detective Inspector and head of the Epako Crime Investigations Unit, killed Motonane because he was romantically involved with Haoses at the same time he (Aweseb) was involved with her. This caused jealousy, which culminated in him shooting Haoses three times in her leg, which left her crippled and Motonane dead.
Aweseb denied having shot the deceased, claiming that she was struck by the shots that were released accidentally during the scuffle over the pistol. He said he is not responsible for the two shots the deceased sustained during the scuffle. However, Judge Usiku said the ballistics expert, Onesmus Nambahu, testified that the second wound found on the deceased was shot from a distance. According to the judge, the deceased could not have shot himself from a distance. “And even if he did, how is it possible that he could have shot himself on all two occasions without at least falling down or passing out from the first shot?” she wanted to know.
Further, the judge said both the accused and the deceased had no traces of dirt on them and neither was any dirt found on the firearm, yet Aweseb testified the firearm fell to the ground. This, she said, proves that Aweseb had a direct intent to kill the deceased and Haoses. “The deceased was not only shot once, but twice in the back of his body,” the judge stated.
She further said that Aweseb wanted to kill the deceased when he fired at him first at close range as confirmed by the gunpowder residue found on the deceased’s body. Regarding the attempted murder of Haoses, she said that his action that morning all pointed to someone who wanted to kill Haoses. “Why leave with his gun in the early morning hours to Mildred’s house when he was not even on duty at the time?” One is left to wonder what the accused would have done had Mildred not fallen to the ground where she lost consciousness, said the judge. According to the judge, the fact that the accused had come out of the house running after Mildred clearly indicates his intentions to harm Mildred.
With regards to the arms and ammunition offences, the judge said evidence showed that he did not book out the weapon and the ammunition as required by law and he is thus guilty of those counts as well. On the charge of malicious damage to property, the judge said Aweseb conceded that he bought the items for Mildred and it thus belonged to her and as such a case has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that he unlawfully and intentionally damaged her property.
The trial will resume on January 16 next year for pre-sentencing procedures and Aweseb will remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates. He was represented by Mese Tjituri on instructions of Legal Aid, Advocate Cliff Lutibezi prosecuted.