19 November 2012

Namibia: Magistrate Rejects Murder Accused's Guilty Plea

THE Keetmanshoop Regional Magistrate, Piet Bekker, on Friday rejected the guilty plea of the man accused of murdering Aletta Thirion (63) in her home on November 6.

Jan Benedictus Fredericks (23) entered a guilty plea on charges of robbery and murder during his second appearance in the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court.

Fredericks admitted that he had struck Thirion three times on her head with a wooden pole before making off with a cellphone and laptop computer.

Thirion died in the intensive care unit of the Katutura State Hospital a day after the attack.

Thirion was buried on Friday.

Fredericks told the court he went to Thirion's house to collect money her son allegedly owed him for having washed his car on a previous occasion.

Saying that Thirion let him wait at the front gate, Fredericks said: "I didn't want to wait and went into the house and started beating her in the kitchen."

When asked why he had beaten Thirion, Fredericks replied: "I still do not understand why I beat her."

He added that he had no intention to kill Thirion and did not realise the wrongfulness of robbing and murdering the deceased.

"I did not know what was going on with me," Fredericks remarked.

Following Fredericks's explanation, Bekker said he couldn't accept his guilty plea.

"The State has to determine what was your state of mind when committing these deeds," Bekker said.

As such a not guilty plea was recorded.

Bekker postponed the case to January 10 for further police investigation and for Fredericks to apply for legal aid.

Fredericks indicated that he only needed a legal aid lawyer for mitigation of sentence.

He also did not agree with the postponement date, saying that he wanted the matter to be finalised in the shortest possible time because it was giving him sleepless nights.

Towards the end of this month Fredericks will also be arraigned on charges of theft in the Mariental and Walvis Bay Magistrate's courts.

He remains in custody.

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