American murder suspect Tomas not fit to stand trial

WINDHOEK: American murder suspect Marcus Kevin Tomas charged with the alleged killing of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in January 2011, is not fit to stand trial.

This is contained in the findings of the American’s mental observation report which was made public in the Windhoek High Court here on Wednesday.

‘ Marcus Tomas knows he is in Namibia but does not know how he came to Namibia. He is completely struggling to recall all the information given to him. He does not recognise he has memory problems. He has problems with following instructions. In the result, Marcus Tomas is not fit to stand trial. He is also not fit to understand and follow court proceedings, ‘ reads a summary of clininical report compiled by Windhoek-based psychiatrist, Dr Mthoko.

finally undergoing mental observation.

The 29-year-old Tomas, who has indicated in November last year that he wants to plead guilty to the killing of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in January 2011, was admitted to the Windhoek Central Hospital’s Psychiatric Section recently to undergo a 30-day mental health fitness examination.

This came to light on Wednesday morning when the suspect made another appearance before Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute during a pre-trial conference of case management.

A report on Tomas’s mental health status is now to be presented in court on 24 April this year.

The report will be used to establish whether the accused person is fit to stand trial and understand the court proceedings.

All this information was made public on Wednesday morning by State representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef when Tomas and his co-accused, fellow countryman Kevan Donell Townsend, 28, appeared.

The two Americans each face a charge of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, the unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia, the illegal possession of a firearm, the illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

Meanwhile, the continuation of their main trial is expected to resume in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Christie Liebenberg on 20 July 2015.

Townsend, who is being represented by Windhoek-based defence lawyer Boris Isaaks, is still denying any involvement in the alleged killing, and has already entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the six charges levelled against him by the State.

Tomas is now being represented by defence lawyer Monty Karuaihe following the withdrawal of his first State-sponsored defence lawyer Werner van Rensburg from the case on 12 November 2014.

During the duo’s first court appearance on 14 January 2011, Townsend denied knowing the deceased, claiming that he first heard that name only after his arrest.

Tomas and Townsend are the only names mentioned by the Namibian Police so far in connection with investigations into the murder.

According to the police, Heckmair was scheduled to return to Europe for studies after spending a holiday with his family in Namibia, but was found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser pick-up at a cul-de-sac in Klein Windhoek on 07 January 2011.

Investigations launched by the police led them to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day, where they arrested Tomas and Townsend.

The Serious Crime Unit of the Namibian Police Force initially arrested the two Americans on a charge of illegal possession of dagga so that they could keep them in custody while they were busy investigating the murder and their links to Heckmair.

NamPol’s Crime Co-ordinator for the Khomas Region, Deputy Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa said at the time that the police had been unable to locate the murder weapon or the mobile phone and wallet containing at least N.dollars 1 000, which were missing from Heckmair’s car.

Townsend told the police that he is a resident of New York, while Tomas said he lived in Los Angeles.

The two are being held at the Windhoek Correctional Services’ facility, with no option to post bail.

Isaaks and Karuaihe are representing the two Americans on the instructions of the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid.