Windhoek — A group currently on trial for the murder of Okahandja resident Marshall de Klerk nearly a decade ago denied any wrongdoing when they took the stand in the Windhoek Regional Court yesterday.
The accused Fillupus Ai-Aiseb, 25, Seth Awaseb 28, Hartley Nanub 32, Gideon Naobeb, 32, and Collin Naraseb, 26, took a no guilty plea to the charge of murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm before Magistrate Alexis Diegaardt at the start of their trial.
In his plea explanation, Ai-Aiseb informed the court that he had no hand in the death of De Klerk. However, he does not dispute that he was in the company of his fellow accused. Awaseb and Naraseb too informed the court that they too were in the company of their fellow accused but had nothing to do with the death of the deceased.
Nanub and Naobeb opted to remain silent and leave it up to the state to prove its case against them.
However, the first state witness Medusalem Gawanab placed all the accused, except Ai-Aiseb, at the scene of the crime on the date in question.
According to Gawanab's testimony, he was in the company of the accused persons at a local shebeen in Okahandja when an argument erupted between the deceased, Awaseb and Nanub. The accused were allegedly drinking alcohol.
He allegedly saw Awaseb and Nanub walk towards the deceased with a panga and axe. Thereafter the whole group followed suit. It was his testimony that he saw the accused assault the deceased.
He further testified that the accused talked about killing De Klerk while they were all in police custody.
The prosecution is charging that the accused youths did "unlawfully and intentionally kill De Klerk near Lucas Shebeen in Okahandja by cutting him with a panga and spears and stabbing him with knives all over his body, causing his death."
De Klerk died from excessive bleeding due to the cuts and slashes on his body. His body was discovered with multiple stab wounds and slashes.
Some of the suspects who were mere teenagers at the time when the murder was committed were later released on bail and into the care of their legal guardians.
The group's case was transferred to Windhoek from Okahandja more than six years ago. The trial is set to continue today.