WINDHOEK - Lukas Nepela Nikodemus, the man charged with the murder and burning of two young women at a rubbish dump in Pionierspark suburb in Windhoek, said he will plead not guilty when his trial starts in two weeks’ time in the Windhoek High Court before High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg.
He said this during his application before Acting Judge Petrus Unengu to be released on bail pending his trial, which is set down to start on October 22 and continue on October 25 and 26 and then again from November 12 to 16.
Nikodemus, who is now represented by Mbanga Siyomunji after he fired two previous lawyers for not being willing to apply for him to be released on bail, is charged with two counts of murder, one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, and one count of failing to lock away a firearm.
The state alleges Nikodemus, 47, killed 29-year-old Johanie Naruses and 23-year-old Clementia de Wee during the period 06 to 07 January 2016 and set their dead bodies alight.
Their partly charred bodies were found by a security guard the morning of January 7, 2016 and Nikodemus was arrested the same day after a SIM card that linked him to her was found in the back pocket of the jeans of one of the deceased.
During his first appearance in the magistrate’s court, Nikodemus told the magistrate he does not know how to plead as he has no recollection of what happened.
On Wednesday Nikodemus took the stand and testified about what supposedly happened on that night. According to him, he was romantically involved with both women at the same time although they did not know about each other. In fact, Nikodemus said, he was involved with many women at the same time. On the day in question, January 06, 2014 De Wee arrived at his house early in the morning, being dropped off by someone he only identified as Bennie.
They spent the day at his house and later in the afternoon Naruses called and asked him to fetch her.
He was waiting for his car that he had loaned to one Abisai Sebele, one of the state witnesses, and he had to wait some time for Sebele to return his car. He then went to fetch Naruses and they all returned to his residence, he said.
Nikodemus further narrated that they all – he, Sebele and the two deceased – later went to a bar in Damara location where they played pool and he shared one beer with De Wee.
After a while De Wee smashed a beer bottle and demanded to be taken home and he then took her and Naruses to Khomasdal where they met this Bennie and they all then returned to his house. While there, De Wee asked for his car keys so they can go and get their stuff, he said, and continued that he then gave her the keys and they left leaving him at home. At around midnight, Bennie arrived at his home and gave him his car keys, informing him that his car got stuck on a soccer field in Otjomuise, Nikodemus said. “I then decided to take some of my children’s clothes with me as they stay in Otjomuise and I also took a plastic container for fuel if my car got empty as well as my pistol.”
However, he said, when he arrived at his car, he realised that it was close to empty and he then decided to rather leave the car at his former girlfriend’s house and collect it the next morning. But, he said, the next morning he was arrested. During cross-examination, State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi wanted to know from Nikodemus why he is only now mentioning the Bennie character, to which Nikodemus answered: “I decided to remain silent and not tell the police anything and only speak in court.”
When it was put to him that if the police had known about “Bennie, they could have investigated and maybe clear his name”, he said that he told his former lawyer, Jan Wessels, about Bennie.
Acting Judge Unengu reserved his ruling on the bail application until October 19 at 10h00.
Nikodemus remains in custody.
2018-10-05 09:16:10 10 months ago