American Murder Accused Allocated Lawyer

One of the two Americans charged with the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011 appointed Werner van Rensburg as his lawyer, Judge Christi Liebenberg was told yesterday. Marcus Thomas, 31, informed the court during a previous pre-trial hearing that he did not want a state-funded lawyer and preferred to defend himself. Vetu Uanivi represents his co-accused, 30-year-old Kevin Townsend, on the ticket of the Directorate of Legal Aid. They will now return to court on 17 September for another pre-trial hearing. Judge President Petrus Damaseb set down their trial for 29 September this year during a previous pre-trial conference after Thomas and Townsend asked the court for an expedited trial.

State Aocate Antonia Verhoef will represent the State. Thomas and Townsend face one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The State alleges in count one that they killed Heckmair, who was the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him assassin-style in the back of his head on 7 January 2011 in Gusinde Street in Windhoek. In count two the State alleges that they robbed Heckmair of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc. Count three and its alternative relates to the alleged importation of two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit or alternatively possession of the 9mm barrels without a licence. Count four is the alleged possession of a 7.65mm pistol without a licence and count 5 the unlawful possession of ammunition.

On count six they are charged with intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice by removing a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit andor burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book. According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, the two accused met in a jail in New York in the United States of America where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend who was in police custody. After the release of Townsend they travelled to Helsinki in Finland from where they forwarded a package to Namibia containing a firearm silencer, but which was labelled ‘furniture spare’ or ‘table leg replacement’ in preparation of their plan to travel to Namibia and kill the deceased. After they arrived in Namibia, it is stated in the indictment, they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Heckmair and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol. After they managed to contact Heckmair they lured him to the quiet Gusinde Street in Windhoek’s plush Eros suburb where they shot him once in the head, according to the indictment. After their arrest the indictment further reads, they managed to remove the notebook when they were brought to one of the investigator’s offices to collect their clothing and toiletries. Both Thomas and Townsend were remanded in custody at the Windhoek Central Prison until their next court appearance.

Source : New Era