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State exhibits evidence from Americans’ murder accused

2022-10-05  Roland Routh

State exhibits evidence from Americans’ murder accused

Roland Routh

Deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef has been establishing the chain of custody of the various exhibits, seized from the room where the two American citizens, accused of the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in January 2011 stayed.

Chief inspector Felix Ndikoma, who conducted the search at the guesthouse with deputy commissioner Barry de Klerk on 9 January 2011, two days after Heckmair was killed with a bullet to the head, has testified about the items seized and the way he kept it safe.

This is after the defence counsels of Marcus Thomas and Kevan Townsend questioned the chain of custody and claimed the items were planted by the police.

Salomon Kanyemba and Mbanga Siyomunji, on behalf of Thomas and Townsend, respectively repeatedly objected to the exhibits being introduced to the court.

They requested the court to hold a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the exhibits, but Judge Christi Liebenberg, who is presiding over the long-running trial declined.

The judge already admitted the evidence obtained during the search on 9 January after a mini-trial.

He, however, said the admission of the exhibits, as evidence is still not a foregone conclusion after Siyomunji again objected and wanted to know whether Verhoef intends to have it formally admitted as evidence.

The judge advised that the formal admittance waits until after the defence counsels cross-examined Ndikoma.

With regards to the claim by Siyomunji and Kanyemba that their client’s legal rights were not properly explained to them, Ndikoma testified that he explained their rights to them in detail before he arrested them and that both said they know their rights and understood what he explained to them.

The State is alleging that Thomas and Townsend travelled to Namibia with the express purpose of killing Heckmair because he was involved in a relationship with an ex-girlfriend of Thomas.

It is also alleged that Thomas paid US$10 000 for bail in respect of Townsend, who was in custody on gun charges in New York to travel with him for that purpose, and that they imported two gun barrels and a silencer from Finland.    

Thomas and Townsend are facing one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.


2022-10-05  Roland Routh

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