15 March 2013

Namibia: Heckmair Murder Matter to Continue Next Month

The matter in which two American nationals stand accused of murdering a Windhoek resident in 2011 has been postponed to April 5, which Magistrate Justine Asino granted as the final date for a remand.

The accused are Marcus Kevin Thomas and Kevin Townsend. They face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, illegal importation of firearms, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

The two men are charged with murdering the 25-year-old Andre Peter Heckmair in Windhoek on January 7, 2011.

The matter was postponed last month to allow Thomas to get legal representation, and who had said he was not ready to plea to the charges. "I will have to look for a private lawyer. I have spoken to several lawyers but I need to decide which one to appoint," Thomas said then. He had argued that he needed three months to get a lawyer.

Thomas was however still without a lawyer when he appeared in court this week, claiming that he was not allowed to use the telephone to contact lawyers, and that some lawyers are refusing to visit the prison.

Detective Chief Inspector Barry de Klerk was then called by the State to testify on the allegations that the accused was not allowed to use the telephone.

De Klerk informed the court that trial-awaiting prisoners are allowed to use the telephone, adding that Thomas had not called him with complaints but has been making calls to his co-accused Townsend and to the American Embassy.

Prosecutor Samantha Diergaardt then informed the court that it was evident that the accused was in no way prohibited from using the facilities. She added that it was unreasonable for the accused to expect to be taken to see a lawyer.

The prosecutor also claimed that the accused was using delaying tactics.

Heckmair was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head in a car in Windhoek. The two men were arrested on the evening of the killing and have been in custody ever since. Vetu Uanivi represents Townsend.

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