WINDHOEK - A former senior police officer of the Namibian Police Force, accused of shooting to death a teenager, yesterday claimed the fatal shot he fired happened during a struggle for the gun. He said this when he testified in his own defence in the Windhoek High Court at the Windhoek Prison Facility before Judge Dinah Usiku.
The State alleges Lazarus Oscar Aweseb, 51, killed the young man, 18-year-old Odilo Rathebe Motonane, on March 22, 2016 during a jealous rage and also shot Mildred Haoses with the intent to kill her, in addition to destroying a home theatre system, television set and DVD player of Haoses.
He is facing charges of murder, attempted murder, possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of ammunition without a licence, malicious damage to property and theft, all read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act. He is also charged with arms and ammunition counts for having the police issue pistol and ammunition without official consent.
Aweseb, who was a detective inspector and head of the Epako Crime Investigations Unit, told the court that that he went to the house of Haoses, who was his girlfriend, at five o’clock in the morning of that fateful day after he could not get hold of her on her cellphone to talk to her. When he arrived at the house, he knocked on the door and Motonane answered and asked him what he what he was doing there. According to Aweseb, he was surprised to find Motonane there as he was under the impression that he (Aweseb) and Haoses were still together.
He further told the court that he told Motonane he is there to see his girlfriend to which Motonane replied that he will not be allowed to enter the room. “I then told him I will enter and he grabbed me on my throat and pushed me backwards, and in the process my pistol that was in my waistband fell to the ground,” Aweseb narrated.
He went on to say that Motonane then picked up the pistol and cocked it twice while pointing it at him and he managed to grab hold of Motonane’s wrist and tried to wrestle the firearm away from him.
In the process they moved into the house and several shots, he could not recall how many, went off. According to Aweseb, he heard Haoses cry out and heard her running out of the room, while he was still struggling to get the gun from Motonane.
“I then felt a bullet entering my chest area and managed to twist the arm of the deceased to his back and heard two more shots go off,” Aweseb told Judge Usiku.
He said Motonane fell to the ground and he realised that he had the firearm in his hands before he too lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness he found himself on the bed with the firearm next to him and he heard police officers talking and he asked one of them for water, Aweseb said. From there the ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital, he concluded his testimony.
On a question from Mese Tjituri, his legal aid lawyer, Aweseb said he could not recall whether he was arrested at the scene or at the hospital while he was recovering from his bullet wound.
With regard to the arms and ammunition counts for having the police issue pistol and ammunition without consent, Aweseb said he had permission to have the firearm and the ammunition as he was on standby that evening and was allowed to have the firearm in his possession. He also related to the court that he did not damage a home theatre system and TV set of Haoses on purpose, but accidentally.
According to Aweseb, he slipped on loose mats in the house of Haoses and in the process of trying to regain his balance he stepped onto the DVD system that was near the ground and also pulled over the TV when he tried to find something to hold on to.
With regard to the charge of theft, he said that the items he took from Haoses’ house belonged to him and told the court that it was 25 zinc plates, five poles, a fridge and a microwave.
Aweseb will remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates after his second bail application was dismissed by Judge Siboleka earlier this year.