BOTH of the men accused of robbing and murdering an elderly Walvis Bay resident in his house in July 2005 were found guilty as charged in the High Court in Windhoek this week.
Following their conviction, Immanuel Katjire (29) and Richardt Thomson (34) are scheduled to return to the High Court on November 29 for the hearing of final arguments and testimony before they are due to be sentenced.
Judge Alfred Siboleka convicted them on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances on Wednesday.
Katjire and Thomson were accused of murdering a Walvis Bay resident, Albert Petrus ('Basie') Rigaardt (81), in his house between July 4 and 6 2005. They were further accused of having robbed Rigaardt by stealing an Isuzu bakkie from him.
Rigaardt was found dead in his house on July 6 2005. The house was in disarray, and several of its rooms were smeared with blood.
A medical doctor who performed an autopsy on Rigaardt concluded that he had died due to a skull fracture. He also had other injuries, which including signs that he had been tied up.
After the arrest of Thomson and Katjire about a week after Rigaardt had been found dead, both of them admitted to the Police that they were at Rigaardt's house when a violent attack was launched on him.
The two men however shifted the blame for the attack onto each other, with Thomson accusing Katjire, and Katjire in turn claiming that it was Thomson who attacked Rigaardt.
Each claimed that the other suspect hit Rigaardt with a hammer during the attack.
Only Thomson, who was employed at a Walvis Bay pharmacy at the time of the incident, testified in his own defence during their trial. Katjire chose to maintain his silence in the face of the accusations made against him.
In his testimony, Thomson also accused Katjire of having launched an attack on Rigaardt. Thomson said he saw Katjire standing with a hammer in his hands, while an injured Rigaardt was bleeding and his blood was dripping onto the floor.
Thomson claimed he shouted at Katjire to leave Rigaardt alone and that he then asked Katjire what was going on.
Katjire answered him that Rigaardt was refusing to give him the keys to his car. Thomson testified that he then told Katjire to ask Rigaardt for the keys in a good manner. After this, he said, Katjire grabbed a chair and hit Rigaardt with it.
Thomson said he asked Katjire not to hit Rigaardt, but rather to tie him up if he wanted the keys of the car.
After the attack, the two men left the scene in Rigaardt's bakkie. They travelled to Outjo overnight, with Thomson driving most of the way.
The evidence about what the two men told the Police shows a planned and swift assault on Rigaardt and that the two men left the crime scene as fast as possible to avoid being detected, Judge Siboleka remarked in his judgement.
He noted that according to Thomson he washed blood from his shoes after the attack.
Thomson was aware that the attack on Rigaardt was fatal and that it was meant to enable Katjire and him to take away his vehicle, Judge Siboleka found.
The judge said he had no doubt that Thomson actively associated with Katjire, and that he shared a common purpose with Katjire to attack Rigaardt. As a result, he, too, should be held accountable for the acts of Katjire when Rigaardt was attacked.
Thomson, who is represented by defence lawyer Jorge Neves, and Katjire, represented by Titus Mbaeva, have both remained in custody since their arrest on July 14 2005.
State advocate Boniface Konga is prosecuting.