4 December 2012

Namibia: Last Testimony Heard in Schiefer Murder Trial

THE defence case of youthful Windhoek resident Romeo Schiefer, who is accused of murdering his parents in their home in early 2008, was closed in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Schiefer’s defence counsel, Winnie Christians, informed Judge Naomi Shivute that he was closing Schiefer’s defence case after a recording of the television footage which a Namibian Broadcasting Corporation cameraman, Uushona Hiskia, made at the home of Schiefer’s parents on the night of January 18 2008 had been shown to the court.

With both the prosecution and the defence case in the trial closed, Christians and Deputy Prosecutor General Belinda Wantenaar will now have time to prepare their arguments on the verdict to be delivered by Judge Shivute.

Oral arguments on the verdict are scheduled to be heard on April 15 next year.

Schiefer (23) has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He is accused of having murdered his parents, Frans and Francina Schiefer (both 50 years old), in their house in Khomasdal, Windhoek, and stealing a bank card and its PIN code from his parents on the evening of January 18 2008.

Mr Schiefer was killed when he was shot in the head in the couple’s bedroom. Mrs Schiefer was stabbed repeatedly with a knife or knives, and was also shot nine times, it was found when an autopsy was done on her.

Schiefer has remained in custody since being arrested in connection with the double murder on the day after the incident.

A confession which a senior police officer recorded in writing was made by Schiefer a few hours after his arrest, and forms part of the evidence before the judge.

Schiefer claimed during his trial that he was influenced and forced to make the confession, and that police officers involved in interrogating him had instructed him what to say when he made the statement.

The visual material shown to the court yesterday shows curious onlookers gathered outside the house of the murdered couple, police officers investigating at the scene and gathering evidence such as spent bullet casings and a pistol from the kitchen in the house, blood marks on the floor of the kitchen, a glimpse of part of the body of one of the victims, who both lay in a bedroom in the house, and police officers carrying the two corpses from the house.

Christians also pointed out that it could be seen that at least one person who was recorded walking out of the kitchen was wearing sneakers at the time.

Bloody shoe prints were found inside the house, the court has heard.

A forensic scientist who examined the shoe prints and the soles of the Nike Air sneakers that Romeo Schiefer wore on the evening of the murders has told the court that the prints could have been made by one of Schiefer’s shoes.

Forensic scientist Jaco Robberts testified that he concluded that the marks at the scene – one was found on a floor tile in a bathroom, with other prints found in a corridor – had been made by shoes that were the same size as Schiefer’s, as well as the same make and with the same sole pattern.

All of the marks corresponded with a portion of the sole of Schiefer’s left shoe.

Since he could not find unique or individual characteristics in the bloody marks to compare with similar features on the sole of Schiefer’s left shoe, he could not conclusively find that the marks had indeed been made by Schiefer’s shoe, Robberts said.

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