American Murder Suspects Get Trial

The scene is finally set for the two Americans who face murder charges related to the assassin-style slaying of a Namibian victim.

The two Americans Marcus Thomas and Kevan Townsend will have their chance on November 03 to plead to charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

The state alleges they killed Andre Heckmair, who is the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him assassin-style in the back of his head on January 07, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbed him of his cellphone and wallet containing at leat 100 Swiss Francs. They also allegedly imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit and allegedly possessed a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without a license.

It is further alleged the accused removed 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. Townsend will now be defended by Boris Isaacs after his previous lawyer withdrew for receiving conflicting instructions.

Isaacs confirmed he received instructions from Legal Aid to defend Townsend. After some back and forth wrangling between the defense and the state, represented by Deputy Prosecutor General, Antonia Verhoef, it was eventually decided the state will make statements obtained from various witnesses available to the defense, but that the names, addresses and contact details of such witnesses as well any names mentioned of other witnesses will be removed.

The identities will only be made available two days before they are to testify.

This came about after Werner van Rensburg who represents Thomas complained to Judge Christi Liebenberg that he still has not received full disclosure from the state.

Verhoef informed the court she does not wish to reveal the identities of the witnesses for fear the accused will interfere with them.

She said there is evidence the accused already tried to intimidate three of her witnesses.

Only after Isaacs threatened to bring a formal application for disclosure and the assistance of the court, the state and the defense reached consensus on the matter.

Both Isaacs and Van Rensburg, however, said they accept the two-day period with reservations and would have preferred five to seven days.

Source : New Era