There was no justification to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence
A STRYDENBURG resident was effectively sentenced to 18 years in prison for the “gruesome” murder of a local teenager.
In June last year, 17-year-old Jonathan Meintjies was repeatedly assaulted with a pair of pliers and shocked with the electrical cord of a stove.
He was then dragged to a nearby dumping site where his head was crushed using a big stone, measuring roughly 30cm across.
As Meintjies drew his dying breaths, his assailant, 31-year-old Stefanus Adams, covered him with a blanket, branches and boxes and left.
Meintjies’ body was later discovered by members of the SAPS, resulting in Adams’ arrest and conviction on two counts.
Adams was yesterday handed an 18-year sentence for murder along with an additional 12 months for malicious damage to property, to be served concurrently, after Acting Judge Nomfuneko Mbalo ruled that there was no justification to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.
Before Mbalo handed down the sentence yesterday afternoon, the court heard how Adams was 29 years old at the time of the incident and had left school in Grade 8 due to financial constraints. He had also been taken in and raised by his sister, having received minimal parental support at home.
While this neglect by his parents from an early age, along with claims that he had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, were presented to the court as grounds for leniency, the presiding officer said that these were insufficient grounds to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years for murder, considering the nature of the offence and the accused’s criminal record, which includes convictions for housebreaking and theft.
“This murder was gruesome and committed in a heartless fashion,” Mbalo stated. “The deceased died at the age of 17 for no apparent reason.
“He (Meintjies) was assaulted with pliers, electrocuted and stoned to death.
“As if that wasn’t enough, the accused then covered the deceased while he was gasping for his last breath.
“Even as his girlfriend tried to reprimand him, he (Adams) said: ‘Nee, los my dat ek maar klaar maak’ (‘No, let me finish’).
“His actions were reprehensible and showed total disregard for human life.”
Mbalo added that the crime had had a significant impact on Meintjies’ family.
“The death left the family emotionally scarred,” the judge continued. “Shortly after the death (of Meintjies), the mother of the deceased suffered a stroke and didn’t live for long.
“The deceased was still a child and the family were expecting big things from him. Without their mother and the deceased, the family is only left with two brothers.
“The court is not convinced that liquor played a factor.
“While, neglect may warrant sympathy, it is not an exceptional circumstance.”
“I am unable to find any factors in his background that would allow me to deviate from the minimum sentence.”