Beach killer guilty

Beach killer guilty

NAFTALIE Kondja, the man accused of robbing and murdering a German-born goldsmith at Swakop­mund two years ago, was absent from the dock in the High Court in Windhoek when he was pronounced guilty yesterday.

In a verdict delivered after a seven-week break in Kondja’s trial, Judge Collins Parker found Kondja (28) guilty of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Kondja was not present to hear the Judge’s verdict.He refused point blank to take his seat in the dock when the court’s session started.After getting the same stubborn answer from Kondja each time that he asked him to take his place in the dock – “I will not go in there”, Kondja repeated – Judge Parker ordered that Kondja then be taken back to the court holding cells while he proceeded to read out his verdict.Kondja and two co-accused – Swakopmund resident Matti Kamati (37), and a taxi driver also living at the town, Temus Natangwe Shiwalo (33) – went on trial before Judge Parker on September 20.They were accused of murdering Alexandra Mooren, a 44-year-old German-born goldsmith living and working at Swakopmund, during an armed robbery on a beach at the coastal town on the morning of August 13 2004.Mooren was shot dead while walking to work along the beach between Swakopmund’s old iron jetty and the central Mole beach.Her killer fled from the scene with her handbag.An eyewitness who saw the shooting, Doris Ackermann, gave the Police a description of the attacker’s clothing, and crucially also mentioned that he had been wearing a red cap.Thanks to a quick response from the Police at the town – Judge Parker yesterday made a point of giving them credit “for their professionalism and quick action” – Kondja was arrested about 30 minutes after the murder.The red cap that he was still wearing when a Police officer stopped a taxi that was transporting him was one of the things that immediately drew the Policeman’s attention to him.When the Police officer conducted an on-the-spot search of Kondja, a .22 revolver with three spent and six live bullets in it was found tucked into his trousers.Ballistic tests later showed that this was the firearm with which Mooren had been shot.She had died from a gunshot wound to the chest.A second shot had hit her arm.A third shot that Ackerman saw the attacker firing had missed Mooren.After his arrest, Kondja admitted that he had shot Mooren while robbing her of her handbag.He also implicated Kamati and Shiwalo in at least the robbery, claiming that they and one “Makhutsi” had together decided to stage a robbery at Swakopmund on the day in question.He also claimed that he handed Mooren’s handbag to Kamati after he had taken it from her.During the trial, however, Kondja recanted these claims, telling the court that he had acted alone when he robbed Mooren.He also claimed that the firearm that he used during the robbery went off by accident – no fewer than three times.With no other incriminating evidence against Kamati and Shiwalo, Judge Parker acquitted them on all charges after all the evidence in the trial had been heard.The murder weapon had been stolen from a vehicle that was parked on a Swakopmund street on the day before Mooren was killed.Based on a legal principle that someone found in possession of stolen property shortly after the property had been stolen can be convicted of theft if the person is not able to give a reasonable explanation for the possession, Judge Parker convicted Kondja of the theft of the revolver, ammunition, a camera bag and a video camera that had been stolen from the vehicle the day before Mooren was shot.Relying heavily on Ackermann’s eyewitness testimony about the shooting, he also rejected Kondja’s claim that the three shots fired from the revolver had gone off by accident.The revolver was not an automatic firearm, so for it to fire a bullet, its trigger would have to be pulled, and the trigger would have to be pulled three times for it to fire three times, Judge Parker noted.Based on Ackermann’s “graphic description” of the shooting – she told the court she saw Mooren and her attacker standing very close to each other, facing each other, and that Mooren was standing very still when the attacker lifted his arm and fired three shots at her at close range – Judge Parker convicted Kondja of murder with a direct intention to kill.Kondja is scheduled to be sentenced on December 4.Kondja had been convicted of theft out of a motor vehicle once before, the court was informed after the judgement had been delivered.That was at Otjiwarongo in 2000, and he was sentenced to an effective two years’ imprisonment on that charge.State advocate Sandra Miller asked the court to remove him from society “for a very long time” this time around.His “disrespectful and contemptuous” behaviour in court yesterday, she said, was another sign that he had no remorse over his crimes.It should also be taken as an aggravating factor that Kondja single-handedly caused “the liberty of two criminals” – his former co-accused – who are now walking the streets while they should in fact be behind bars, Miller also told the court.Kondja’s defence counsel, Lucia Hamutenya, told the Judge that immediately after his arrest Kondja played open cards with the Police and co-operated with their investigation.Kondja only went as far as Grade 2 at school, and was raised by his mother alone after his father died when he was seven, so that might have resulted in him not receiving the sort of moral guidance that children normally receive from their parents, she commented.Hamutenya conceded that Kondja’s crimes were serious and that society was crying out against this sort of crimes.Kondja, however, should not now be sacrificed on the altar of deterrence, she asked.Kondja was not present to hear the Judge’s verdict.He refused point blank to take his seat in the dock when the court’s session started.After getting the same stubborn answer from Kondja each time that he asked him to take his place in the dock – “I will not go in there”, Kondja repeated – Judge Parker ordered that Kondja then be taken back to the court holding cells while he proceeded to read out his verdict.Kondja and two co-accused – Swakopmund resident Matti Kamati (37), and a taxi driver also living at the town, Temus Natangwe Shiwalo (33) – went on trial before Judge Parker on September 20.They were accused of murdering Alexandra Mooren, a 44-year-old German-born goldsmith living and working at Swakopmund, during an armed robbery on a beach at the coastal town on the morning of August 13 2004.Mooren was shot dead while walking to work along the beach between Swakopmund’s old iron jetty and the central Mole beach.Her killer fled from the scene with her handbag.An eyewitness who saw the shooting, Doris Ackermann, gave the Police a description of the attacker’s clothing, and crucially also mentioned that he had been wearing a red cap. Thanks to a quick response from the Police at the town – Judge Parker yesterday made a point of giving them credit “for their professionalism and quick action” – Kondja was arrested about 30 minutes after the murder.The red cap that he was still wearing when a Police officer stopped a taxi that was transporting him was one of the things that immediately drew the Policeman’s attention to him.When the Police officer conducted an on-the-spot search of Kondja, a .22 revolver with three spent and six live bullets in it was found tucked into his trousers.Ballistic tests later showed that this was the firearm with which Mooren had been shot.She had died from a gunshot wound to the chest.A second shot had hit her arm.A third shot that Ackerman saw the attacker firing had missed Mooren.After his arrest, Kondja admitted that he had shot Mooren while robbing her of her handbag.He also implicated Kamati and Shiwalo in at least the robbery, claiming that they and one “Makhutsi” had together decided to stage a robbery at Swakopmund on the day in question.He also claimed that he handed Mooren’s handbag to Kamati after he had taken it from her.During the trial, however, Kondja reca
nted these claims, telling the court that he had acted alone when he robbed Mooren.He also claimed that the firearm that he used during the robbery went off by accident – no fewer than three times.With no other incriminating evidence against Kamati and Shiwalo, Judge Parker acquitted them on all charges after all the evidence in the trial had been heard.The murder weapon had been stolen from a vehicle that was parked on a Swakopmund street on the day before Mooren was killed.Based on a legal principle that someone found in possession of stolen property shortly after the property had been stolen can be convicted of theft if the person is not able to give a reasonable explanation for the possession, Judge Parker convicted Kondja of the theft of the revolver, ammunition, a camera bag and a video camera that had been stolen from the vehicle the day before Mooren was shot.Relying heavily on Ackermann’s eyewitness testimony about the shooting, he also rejected Kondja’s claim that the three shots fired from the revolver had gone off by accident.The revolver was not an automatic firearm, so for it to fire a bullet, its trigger would have to be pulled, and the trigger would have to be pulled three times for it to fire three times, Judge Parker noted.Based on Ackermann’s “graphic description” of the shooting – she told the court she saw Mooren and her attacker standing very close to each other, facing each other, and that Mooren was standing very still when the attacker lifted his arm and fired three shots at her at close range – Judge Parker convicted Kondja of murder with a direct intention to kill.Kondja is scheduled to be sentenced on December 4.Kondja had been convicted of theft out of a motor vehicle once before, the court was informed after the judgement had been delivered.That was at Otjiwarongo in 2000, and he was sentenced to an effective two years’ imprisonment on that charge.State advocate Sandra Miller asked the court to remove him from society “for a very long time” this time around.His “disrespectful and contemptuous” behaviour in court yesterday, she said, was another sign that he had no remorse over his crimes.It should also be taken as an aggravating factor that Kondja single-handedly caused “the liberty of two criminals” – his former co-accused – who are now walking the streets while they should in fact be behind bars, Miller also told the court.Kondja’s defence counsel, Lucia Hamutenya, told the Judge that immediately after his arrest Kondja played open cards with the Police and co-operated with their investigation.Kondja only went as far as Grade 2 at school, and was raised by his mother alone after his father died when he was seven, so that might have resulted in him not receiving the sort of moral guidance that children normally receive from their parents, she commented.Hamutenya conceded that Kondja’s crimes were serious and that society was crying out against this sort of crimes.Kondja, however, should not now be sacrificed on the altar of deterrence, she asked.

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