Ernst Lichtenstrasser, the man who shot two people at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT)’s entrance in 2019 in cold blood, wants the court to sentence him to house arrest.
He was testifying in mitigation of sentence before Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday after he was found guilty of murder with direct intent earlier this month.
Lichtenstrasser has been on trial for the deaths of two of his superiors – NIMT executive director at the time Eckhardt Mueller, and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig.
Mueller and Hellwig died in the morning hours of 15 April 2019 after being gunned down at the entrance of the NIMT offices at Arandis.
Heinz’s wife Sabine Hellwig testified that she lost her soulmate, and has not come to terms with her husband’s death. “It has not really sunk in yet,” she told the judge in an emotional state. She added that she would never be able to forget the scene when she had to identify the body of her husband.
Sieglinde Jacobs, the daughter of Mueller, told the court she would never be able to forgive Lichtenstrasser for what he did to her family. “My family fell apart after my father’s murder. I watched my brothers turn into old men with grey hair overnight,” she testified.
“My father was the backbone of the family; he kept the family together,” she told the judge. She went on to say that they are heartbroken, and the murder of her father completely destroyed her. She cannot make peace with it and therapy did not help, the woman continued. “Who would kill such upstanding men like dogs in the street, that cowardly?” she asked Lichtenstrasser.
Lichtenstrasser offered his condolences to both women, but reiterated his stance that he had nothing to do with the murders. In his testimony, he told the court of his history of being in the military, and of experiencing violence. However, he said, there is no single instance where he perpetrated any act of violence against any person. He further said that while he had tremendous respect for Mueller, he became disillusioned when he realised that Mueller was using NIMT as his “cash cow”. Mueller was masquerading as a good person, Lichtenstrasser said. He then indicated to the court that he would call three witnesses, including his sister, who has to come from Germany.
Judge Liebenberg gave him until 23 November to secure the defence witnesses.
Lichtenstrasser is representing himself after he fired Legal Aid lawyer Albert Titus, while deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef represents the state.