Gun Witness to Testify in Americans’ Trial

THE trial of the two Americans accused of murdering a young Namibian in Windhoek in January 2011 came to a sudden halt at the start of the testimony of the prosecution’s second witness in the matter yesterday.

Judge Christie Liebenberg was in the process of warning the State’s second witness in the trial, Simon Muliokela, that the testimony he was required to give might incriminate him on possible charges under the Arms and Ammunition Act when a power cut brought proceedings in the Windhoek High Court to a halt.

By the time that the electricity was restored, deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef and defence lawyers Werner van Rensburg and Boris Isaacks had seen Judge Liebenberg in his chambers to bring a new development in the matter to his attention. With the resumption of court proceedings, Van Rensburg placed on record that he needed to obtain further instructions from his client, Marcus Kevin Thomas, and asked for an adjournment until today.

Judge Liebenberg excused Muliokela from the witness stand until today and granted the adjournment as requested.

While Judge Liebenberg mentioned that the three lawyers had seen him in his chambers in connection with new developments in the case, neither he nor Van Rensburg disclosed what that might entail.

Thomas (29) and a fellow American, Kevan Donnell Townsend (28), pleaded not guilty to all counts when they went on trial on six charges on Friday last week.

They face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, importation of firearm barrels into Namibia without a permit, possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence, and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so.

All of the charges are connected to the killing of 25-year-old Andre Peter Heckmair in Windhoek on 7 January 2011. Heckmair was killed when he was shot in the head in a cul-de-sac in Klein Windhoek, where the two men had allegedly lured him to.

Verhoef asked the judge to warn Muliokela in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act that he had to answer all questions posed to him frankly and honestly, and that some of his answers might incriminate him on charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence and the supply of a firearm and ammunition to another person.

The prosecution is alleging that after Thomas and Townsend had arrived in Namibia on 27 December 2010, they started to make enquiries about the whereabouts of Heckmair. The prosecution is also charging that Thomas and Townsend illegally bought a pistol in Namibia and that they made contact with Heckmair, urging him to meet them, after obtaining his cellphone number.

After he eventually agreed to meet them on 7 January 2011, Heckmair was executed when the pistol and ammunition that the two accused had obtained illegally were used to shoot him in the head, the State is alleging.

Thomas and Townsend have been in custody since being arrested at a guest house in Windhoek on the evening after the killing.

Source : The Namibian