Home News Jerusalem shack murder accused apply for bail

Jerusalem shack murder accused apply for bail

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The seven men who were arrested for the brutal murder of two men who were accused of housebreaking at the Jerusalem shacks in Roodepan last week will remain in custody until judgment is given on their bail application on January 14.

Community members are demanding the release of the seven men who are accused of killing two men who allegedly broke into a shack in Jerusalem, Roodepan. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

THE SEVEN men who were arrested for the murder of two men who were accused of housebreaking at the Jerusalem shacks in Roodepan last week will remain in custody until judgment is given on their bail application on January 14.

The deceased, aged 23 and 33, were repeatedly assaulted with sjamboks, an iron rod and a hammer before they succumbed to their injuries on January 3.

The seven accused – Sam van Rooyen, George Olifant, Mervyn Lekanyeng, Elias Seekoei, Albert Thabisho Selekolo, Ronald Ngcobo and Albert Khloge – appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on January 7, where they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Three of the accused had handed themselves over to the police, while four of the accused were arrested.

All the accused reside in Lerato Park and are Kimberley residents.

The accused indicated that they were prepared to pay bail of R500 each, would not evade trial, would not interfere with witnesses or jeopardise the investigation or attempt to flee.

The investigating officer, Sergeant Modise, said the victims were assaulted for several hours and sustained multiple injuries all over their bodies.

“The incident was reported to the police’s 10111 call centre at around 1.15am on January 3 and the police arrived on the scene at 7.49am. The one deceased was lying on his back on the ground and the other deceased was lying on his right side. They were declared dead by paramedics at 7.34am,” said Modise.

He added that while they are still awaiting the post-mortem results, it is most likely that the cause of death can be attributed to head injuries and blood loss.

The deceased were referred to as Brandon and Motsamai, but no surnames were provided in court.

Modise stated that one of the deceased, Brandon, suffered injuries to his head, body, arms and legs, while his face was covered with blood.

“Motsamai also had injuries on his head, body, arms and legs.”

Modise indicated that he had advised the owner of the shack to open a case of housebreaking after he related that one of the deceased was found inside his home.

He read out witness statements from three witnesses who indicated that they were woken by shouting and screaming on January 3, at around 3am.

“The witnesses saw a group of about 20 people and the councillor who told the deceased to ’speak the truth’ and hand over the stolen goods.”

Modise stated that the eyewitnesses saw blood gushing from the victim’s heads.

“Eyewitnesses identified the accused who were hitting the deceased with knobkieries and sjamboks.”

One witness indicated that a group of people came to his house demanding to know where Motsamai was and if he was with Brandon.

“After going back to sleep, the witness decided to go and look for Motsamai. While he was walking in Kanana he saw a group of people walking with Brandon and Motsamai while some assaulted them with sjamboks and knobkieries after they alleged that they had broken into a shack.”

The third witness stated that he was smoking cannabis and watching television with Motsamai at another man’s house on the night of the incident.

Modise said that after the witness went to sleep in Motsamai’s shack, he was woken by a group of people searching for Motsamai.

“The witness related that the group took Motsamai out of the shack and hit him over the head with an iron rod and a hammer, where he fell to the ground. The witness informed the group that he was with Motsamai the entire evening and that he had not stolen anything.

“The group also accused the witness of housebreaking and theft. The witness indicated that he kept quiet, out of fear for his life.

“They took Brandon and Motsamai to a soccer field, where on the way they continued to beat them. The group left the deceased and went to look for Moeketsi whom they also accused of housebreaking. They found him at his family’s shack and assaulted him with a hammer over the head. Moeketsi took out a knife and threatened to stab anyone who dared to come after him again.”

Modise added that, according to the witness, the group proceeded to bind Motsamai’s hands with cable ties.

“He was crying, bleeding and in pain. He was weak, but they kept on hitting him with belts and stones until the sun came up. The witness noticed that Motsamai had difficulty breathing. He picked him up and took him to a tap so that he could wash him when he realised that he had stopped moving.”

Modise indicated that only Lekanyeng had a previous conviction for theft, although it had taken place more than 15 years ago.

He did not object to the accused being granted bail and pointed out that the family of the deceased also did not have an issue with them being released.

The legal representative for all the accused, Riaan Bode, stated that all the people in the court gallery who attended the bail application on Friday would testify that the accused were not involved in any crime.

“The State does not have a strong case and it relies on a few witnesses.”

State prosecutor Karen Gul pointed out that the accused were facing serious charges, where the victims were bludgeoned to death.

“The accused were identified by eyewitnesses while the witnesses’ statements corroborate each other.”

She believed the accused should remain in custody, failing which bail should be increased to R2,000.

“The State cannot condone the release of the accused, as the deceased were beaten to death in a violent manner.”

The matter is being heard before Magistrate Kubashni Padayachee.

Lerato Park residents do not feel safe. They said their homes are regularly targeted by thieves. Pictures: Sandi Kwon Hoo

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