Heckmair suffered single gunshot wound to the head: cop

WINDHOEK: Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair suffered a single gunshot wound to the head when he was allegedly murdered by two American nationals here in January 2011.

This was the testimony of Warrant Officer Oscar Shatipamba of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s Crime Scene Unit on the second day of the trial of Americans Marcus Kevin Tomas, 29; and Kevan Townsend, 28; who were arrested in connection with the alleged killing.

The policeman told the court that when he arrived at the scene of the crime on 07 January 2011, he found the deceased’s body inside a Land Cruiser pick-up in a cul-de-sac in Klein Windhoek, removed the body from the car and transported it to the police mortuary at the Windhoek Central Hospital.

Shatipamba told the court that a single bullet which allegedly claimed the life of the late Heckmair was found stuck in his head.

It was removed by Dr Diana Caravasa, who conducted the post-mortem examination.

According to the police officer, several blood samples and other related exhibits were also taken from the deceased’s body and forwarded to the National Forensic Science Laboratory for scientific analysis.

Shatipamba further told the court that Heckmair’s body suffered no further injuries while being transported from the scene of the crime to the mortuary when it was placed in the hands of the police.

His testimony, however, came under fire from the defence team during cross-examination as he told the court that he cannot remember the exact time he arrived at the scene of the crime, and also could not recall whether he found the Land Cruiser pick-up idling or not on that fateful day.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Last Friday, Tomas and Townsend both denied any involvement in the alleged killing when each entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to a total of six charges levelled against them by the State.

Each of the two men pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, the unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

They entered the pleas before presiding High Court judge Christie Liebenberg, and in the presence of their State-sponsored defence lawyers Werner van Rensburg and Boris Isaaks.

They then opted to remain silent, and did not disclose their defense at this stage.

Van Rensburg and Isaaks are defending the two Americans on the instructions of the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef is representing the State.

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

Tomas and Townsend are the only names mentioned by the police so far in connection with the investigation into Heckmair’s 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.

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 police initially arrested the two on a charge of illegal possession of dagga in order to keep them in custody while they were busy investigating the murder case 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 lives in Los Angeles.

The two men are being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, with no option to post bail.