13 December 2018

Namibia: Grootfontein Killer Gets 35 Years

Windhoek — Just one day after he was convicted of murder with direct intent for killing the mother of his two children by stabbing her 14 times with a knife, a Grootfontein resident was sentenced to 35 years behind bars by Oshakati High Court Judge, Johanna Salionga last week.

Richard Jesaya Witbooi who refused legal aid and opted to defend himself was convicted by Judge Salionga on Thursday last week after he opted not to testify in his own defence and sentenced the next day, after he again opted not to testify in mitigation.

Witbooi was charged with killing Rosalin Laurika Aukhumes with whom he was in a domestic relationship and had two children with during the morning of January 2013 in Grootfontein. According to the charge sheet, he "atrociously and viciously" stabbed her 14 times on the chest, neck, back, right arm, hand, right leg and on her face. It is further stated that after the stabbing, he took their small baby and left the scene. The deceased was declared dead on arrival at the hospital due to hypovolemic shock (severe blood loss). During her judgment on the verdict, the judge found that Witbooi's failure to testify in his own defence strengthened the state's case. According to her the state's contention that the murder was brutal, barbaric, and cowardly and without justification was not contested and the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was the accused who committed the dastardly deed. "In view of the overwhelming and credible evidence placed before this court which has not been shaken during cross-examination, I am satisfied that the prosecution has proved the charge of murder with direct intent preferred against the accused beyond reasonable doubt," she said.

The judge further said in her sentencing judgment that although the accused did not testify in mitigation, his personal circumstances were extracted from him. He is currently 35 years of age, single and the father of three children aged six, 10 and 14 respectively. She further said that what could be gleaned from the proceedings in the Grootfontein Magistrate's Court is that he killed the deceased because he was heartbroken as he read text messages on her cellphone, from which he concluded she was cheating on him with another man.

However, the judge said, this did not give him the right to kill her. She further said that Witbooi did not show any remorse for his actions, although he had many opportunities to do so. She further said that his conduct after stabbing the deceased was uncaring and emotionless. "The best the accused could do was to at least say sorry for what happened," the judge remarked.

She added that it is aggravating that five years after the murder, the accused had not shown any remorse. The judge further said that the seriousness of the crime, the circumstances in which it was committed and the interest of society are of such a nature that the personal circumstances of the accused pale in comparison. In the circumstances, she said, a custodial sentence for a considerable period is unavoidable.

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