• July 12th, 2020

Man convicted of bludgeoning farmer to death

… Kossmann killer guilty of murder with direct intent 

Roland Routh

WINDHOEK - A man, who was accused of bludgeoning a farmer to death in the Outjo district, was last week found guilty of murder. 
Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Orben Sibeya found Johannes Katanga (31), guilty of murder with direct intent and robbery with aggravating circumstances, but acquitted him on a third charge of attempted robbery. 
Katanga was on trial for the murder and robbery of Karl-Heinz Kossmann (71), on farm Aasvöelkrans in the Outjo district on 25 September 2017.  
Sibeya said Katanga should be given the benefit of the doubt on the attempted robbery charge, as it was not clear who loaded the items found on a Mahindra pick-up at the farm and also who took it to the Outjo police station. 
Katanga had pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of his trial and told the court he was not at the scene. 
According to Sibeya, it was undisputed that Katanga was with the victim during the morning of the incident and that he admitted to “accidentally” shooting the farmer in the thigh during a scuffle. According to the judge, Katanga’s version that he was afraid of the deceased holds no water, as he testified that he left the deceased immobile and leaning against a wall after he shot him. What is to be determined, the judge said, is who caused the multiple injuries of the body of the deceased. 
According to him, the several stones and sticks found at the crime scene painted a picture too obvious to ignore. 
He went on to say that the only inference to be drawn is that it was the accused who attacked the deceased and beat him into submission in order to rob him of his belongings. 
The fact that Katanga was found within hours of the assault with the property of Kossmann points in one direction only and that is Katanga, Sibeya stated. 
“There is no other logical explanation on how the accused was found in possession of the deceased’s property,” the judge emphasised. He further said that it is highly unlikely that another person would have arrived at the farm and attack someone who has been shot, as Katanga wants the court to believe. 
According to the judge, Katanga was an unreliable witness and was evasive and vague when giving evidence and that his evidence was so full of contradictions, showing that it was obvious he made it all up. 
He found that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused’s version is false and stands to be rejected.
The only inference to be drawn from the proven facts, Sibeya said, is that it was Katanga who assaulted the elderly farmer, robbed him and left him to die. 
On intent, the judge said, the weapons used and the body parts upon which the assault was directed proved that Katanga intended to kill Kossmann. 
According to the indictment, Kossmann hired Katanga about two weeks before the incident and on the day in question, Katanga fired various shots at the deceased with his (deceased) own firearm where after he tied his hands behind his back with a wire and continued to assault him with sticks, stones and other unknown weapons.  As a result, the deceased suffered a fractured sternum and 17 broken ribs and he then stole N$1 737, R95, a cellphone, one 38 Astra revolver, one 9mm PAR. Mauser pistol and magazine, 11 live bullets and two spent cartridges. 
He also tried to steal a DVD player, a brief case, body spray, recharge vouchers, USB, a disc player with amplifier and speakers, pliers, UPS, several live bullets of different calibers, two laptops and one motor vehicle. 
He, however, had to leave part of the loot behind when neighbouring farmers came to the rescue of the deceased after being alerted by another farmworker about shots being fired at the farmhouse. He managed to flee on foot with a few items. 
Mwala Siambango represents Katanga on instructions of Legal Aid, while Timo Itula is prosecuting. The trial will continue on 13 February with pre-sentencing procedures. 

Roland Routh
2020-01-27 07:34:47 | 5 months ago

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