Jan Moses Uamunika (49), convicted for the murder of Rehoboth farmer Joseph Adriaan (Shorty) Barth (69 years old at the time of his untimely death), will be sentenced on Wednesday, Windhoek High Court acting Judge Eileen Rakow said on Friday.
Rakow convicted Uamunika on a charge of murder and acquitted him on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances. Rakow, however, convicted him the lesser charge of using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was further acquitted on a charge of theft.
According to the State, Uamunika killed Barth on Farm Naruchas, 28 kilometres from Rehoboth, during 30-31 August 2017 and robbed him of a solar panel (valued at N$500), one brown leather wallet (valued at N$150), and a white VW Golf sedan (valued at N$12 500).
He is further accused of stealing one STK cellphone and SIM card from the deceased. According to the indictment, Uamunika was employed by Barth on Farm Naruchas, and that during the late afternoon hours of 30 August, they travelled from Rehoboth to the farm in the vehicle of the victim.
During the same afternoon, the indictment read, Uamunika shot Barth in both legs with a .22 rifle belonging to the latter. He further assaulted him by hitting, cutting, stabbing him with sticks and/or other unknown objects on his head and body, fracturing his ribs and tying his hands and feet.
The deceased died on the scene due to blunt force injury to his head caused by the assault on him, it is charged.
Uamunika then loaded the stolen items into the vehicle of Barth and drove off with it in the direction of Rehoboth, where he abandoned the vehicle, the charge sheet further stated. He then fled to Mariental, where he sold a cellphone that was borrowed to him by the victim.
He was arrested two months later in Mariental. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and entered a plea explanation in which he pleaded self-defence.
The judge, however, rejected this plea, based on the fact that he continued with the attack on the victim even after he managed to disarm him. She said Uamunika clearly wanted to incapacitate the victim when he tied him up and shot him in the legs.
The judge further stated, there is evidence the accused and victim had an arrangement concerning the solar panel and the mobile phone, but that there is no evidence he stole the victim’s wallet. Moreover, she said Uamunika did not intend to rob the victim of the vehicle but only used it as a means to get off the farm. As such, he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
His State-funded lawyer Milton Engelbrecht asked the court to impose a sentence of 23 years, with five years suspended on the usual conditions on the murder conviction, plus 18 months wholly suspended on the vehicle count.
State advocate Basson Lilungwe asked the court to impose a sentence of 28 years on the murder count and 12 months on the vehicle count to run consecutively.