Windhoek — Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday sentenced Lukas Nepela Nikodemus, 49, whom he convicted on two murder counts and one count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, to two life imprisonment sentences and eight years.
While the judge did not make any orders as to the running of the sentences, Namibia's Constitution only makes provision for one life sentence to be carried out, meaning the second life sentence and the eight years will run concurrently with the first life sentence.
This means that Nikodemus will serve at least 25 years before he becomes eligible for parole, but only if the parole board is satisfied that he is rehabilitated.
"After due consideration of the accused's personal circumstances, the crimes committed and the interests of society, I am of the view that this is an instance where the court should exercise its discretion in favour of the most severe sentence this court may impose, namely life imprisonment on the counts of murder," Judge Liebenberg said.
He further declared Nikodemus unfit to possess a firearm.
According to the judge, evidence is seldom led about the victim as a person and the effect on the relatives and friends due to the loss of loved ones in murder cases and that once such impact has been established it should be taken into account in sentencing.
He said that the evidence given by the family members of the deceased, though expressive and touching tend to give some perspective as to what the family of the victims had to endure subsequent to their passing.
"Besides their longing for the deceased, a fact that must have impacted severely on the family is the gruesome manner in which the deceased person's lives were ended," Judge Liebenberg stressed and continued: "Moreover, when reminded of the undignified and hideous manner in which the bodies were disposed off by setting them alight."
According to Judge Liebenberg, Namibians have sadly become accustomed to the senseless killing of vulnerable persons in society and in too many instances; these are committed in a domestic setting.
"We as society are virtually on a daily basis through the media exposed to the most horrid of murders committed against the innocent and vulnerable among us and, despite the continued outcries against this unacceptable behavior, the commission of the most despicable offences continues unabated," he said.
The judge went on to say that while courts in sentencing should not give in to the expectations of society, neither should it ignore society's indignation and outcries at those who are guilty of such heinous crimes.
"To give insufficient weight to the interests of society, courts would clearly be out of touch with reality and the legitimate expectations of society," Judge Liebenberg stated and added: From Society's perspective, it seems to me reasonable to accept, in the light of the gravity of the present crimes, that the interest of society would best be served if society is protected against any further crimes the accused might commit in future.
This, the judge said, would obviously require his removal from society to prevent a situation where he continues to be a danger to society.
Judge Liebenberg convicted Nikodemus on two counts of murder with direct intent over the gruesome killings of 29-year old Johanie Naruses and 23-year old Clementia de Wee. He shot them in cold blood with his pistol. The murderer was also convicted of one count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice for burning their bodies at a dumpsite near Pioneerspark in Windhoek during the period January 6 - 7, 2016.