Americans' alleged murder trial put on hold

04 Nov 2014 13:30pm
WINDHOEK, 04 NOV (NAMPA) - The trial of two American nationals charged with the murder of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in January 2011, has been put on hold until Wednesday.
It was scheduled to commence before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Tuesday morning, but was ordered to stand down in order to allow accused Marcus Kevin Tomas to recover from the injuries he sustained during a failed attempt to escape from the Windhoek Correctional Facility (formerly named the Windhoek Central Prison) on Sunday.
Tomas could not be present before court on Tuesday morning because he has a swollen leg, and his health situation led to the postponement of the trial until Wednesday morning at 10h00.
In addition, the trial was also put on hold in order to enable the two Americans' State-sponsored defence lawyers Werner van Rensburg and Boris Isaaks to properly consult their clients before the duo could plead to the charges against them.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef, who was ready to proceed with the case today by calling the first State witness to the box, did not object to the postponement.
Van Rensburg and Isaaks are defending the two Americans - Tomas and his accomplice, fellow countryman Kevan Townsend, 24 – while acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
According to an earlier decision taken by the Prosecutor-General’s office, which was made available before court in November last year, the two Americans will each face a charge of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat the course of justice.
During the duo's first court appearance on 14 January 2011, Townsend denied knowing 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, which allegedly took place on 12 January 2011 in Windhoek.
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.
The police said he died of a single shot to the head.
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 Americans 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 coordinator 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.