Schiefer Appeal Bid Dismissed

DOUBLE murder convict Romeo Schiefer will have to pin his hopes on a petition to the Supreme Court if he wants to continue with an attempt to appeal against his conviction and sentence in connection with the murder of his parents.

An application by Schiefer to be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction and sentence was dismissed in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Judge Naomi Shivute, who found Schiefer guilty on two counts of murder and a charge of theft in September last year, dismissed his request for leave to appeal after finding that he did not convince her that he had reasonable prospects of success with an appeal.

The mere possibility that another court might come to a different conclusion is not in itself sufficient to justify the granting of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Judge Shivute said in her ruling.

She said circumstantial evidence, forensic or DNA evidence, and a confession that Schiefer made on the day after the killing of his parents, when cumulatively considered, proved the prosecution’s case against him beyond a reasonable doubt. He was therefore correctly convicted of the double murder, she said.

Judge Shivute sentenced Schiefer (now 25 years old) to an effective 48 years’ imprisonment on 24 October last year. The sentence does not induce a sense of shock, but was fair and proper in the circumstances, the judge commented in her ruling yesterday.

She noted that Schiefer did not testify in mitigation of sentence and that he did not show any remorse. She remarked that Schiefer “committed serious and heinous crimes of murder”. He attacked his parents, Frans and Francina Schiefer, viciously and mercilessly and killed them in cold blood as if in an execution, the judge said.

Schiefer’s parents were murdered in their house in Khomasdal in Windhoek during the evening of 18 January 2008. Frans Schiefer was shot in the head when he lay in bed, while Francina Schiefer was repeatedly stabbed with a knife and shot nine times.

Schiefer, who was the couple’s third and youngest son, denied responsibility for the double murder during his trial.

A substantial part of the trial consisted of a hearing on the admissibility of a confession that Schiefer made to a senior police officer on the day after the killing of his parents. Judge Shivute eventually ruled the confession admissible.

In her ruling yesterday she maintained that Schiefer’s rights were explained to him before he made the self-incriminating statement, and remarked that the confession was correctly ruled to be admissible. She also commented that a claim that another police officer had told Schiefer what to say in the statement was highly improbable, because some of the details in the confession were highly personal facts relating to Schiefer.

In the statement Schiefer claimed he was “triggered” and “decided that this is enough” when his mother swore at him and accused him of not wanting to learn, wasting her money and walking around doing nothing.

He related that he fetched a knife from a drawer and attacked his mother with it. After that, he fetched his father’s pistol from a wardrobe in his bedroom and shot his father with the firearm, he said. Having shot his father in the head where he lay in his bedroom, he returned to the kitchen where he found his mother, Schiefer said.

He said he shot open the kitchen door when his mother tried to lock him out of the house, and when he found his mother in his parents’ bedroom he fired shots at her and later also again stabbed her.

Schiefer was 18 years old – he turned 19 two months later – when his parents were murdered.

Judge Shivute’s dismissal of his request to be allowed to challenge her verdict and his sentence means Schiefer would have to direct a petition to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal if he wants to continue with an appeal.

Defence lawyer Winnie Christians represented Schiefer during his trial and with the hearing of his application for leave to appeal. State aocate Palmer Kumalo represented the prosecution in the appeal bid hearing.

Source : The Namibian