End in sight for well murder accused

by Roland Routh

End in sight for well murder accused

Windhoek

The end of the road is almost in sight for one of the longest murder trials in Namibian history after Judge Naomi Shivute indicated she would deliver judgment in the case of Raynoldt (Jacky) Windstaan and Johannes Eichab in October.

The trial started in 2012 and has been plagued by delays, including trials-within-trials about the admissibility of statements and confessions made by the suspects.

Both men pleaded not guilty to all counts at the start of their trial. Both the defence and the State delivered their final submissions on the guilt or innocence of the accused this week. After hearing the submissions Judge Shivute indicated that she would deliver her verdict on October 4.

State Advocate Erich Moyo asked the court to convict both accused as charged. According to him, the State has adduced enough credible evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt the accused are guilty of the horrendous crimes they are charged with.

He said over and above the direct evidence and the evidence of the admissions, there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict both accused.

He asked the court to find that both accused acted with common purpose to murder the deceased with direct intent and that they threw the victims into the well with the intent to frustrate the course of justice.

Titus Mbaeva, who appears for Windstaan, argued that the State failed to prove its case beyond a shadow of a doubt. He said the State called two alleged eyewitnesses, who contradicted themselves and proved to be liars and whose evidence cannot be believed. He asked the court to acquit Windstaan on all charges.

Joshua Kaumbi, who took over the case for Eichab after Winnie Christians withdrew, argued that no credible evidence was adduced against his client. He said the confession of the accused is not worth the paper it is written on, as Eichab was coerced to say what he said in the confession. He also questioned the timeframes of the warning statement and the confession, saying it was made within five minutes of each other. While he conceded it might be a typing error, he nonetheless noted that it is a huge coincidence.

Windstaan and Eichab are charged with two counts of murder and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice.

It is alleged that they murdered 42-year-old Klaas Titus and 39-year old John McNab during the period of July 16 to 18, 2005 in the Mariental District and threw the deceased’s bodies into a deep and isolated well on Farm Good Hope, from which it is impossible to escape without assistance.

The two men’s skeletal remains were discovered in the well after Windstaan allegedly pointed the well out to the police, because he could apparently no longer handle the nightmares in which his suspected victims haunted him.

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