American murder accused to undergo mental observation in March

26 Feb 2015 12:20pm
WINDHOEK, 26 FEB (NAMPA) - American murder suspect, Marcus Kevin Tomas, will undergo psychiatric observation at the Windhoek Central Hospital’s Psychiatric Section next month.

The 29-year-old Tomas, who indicated in November last year that he wants to plead guilty to the killing of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair, is set to undergo a full 30-day mental health fitness examination. He is represented by defence lawyer Monty Karuaihe.

Tomas is represented by Karuaihe, following the withdrawal of his first State-sponsored defence lawyer Werner van Rensburg from the case on 12 November 2014.

Tomas and his co-accused Kevan Donell Townsend, 28, made an appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Wednesday.

State representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef informed Judge Liebenberg that the exact date when Tomas would be admitted for mental observation has not yet been established but that it would be in March.

The judge informed Tomas that the pre-trial would continue in his absence on 25 March 2015, while his is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Meanwhile, Townsend was a new defence lawyer after he terminated the services of lawyer Boris Isaaks. Isaaks informed the judge on Wednesday that the accused no longer required his services because of a loss of trust due to the continued isolation he is subjected to at the Windhoek correctional facility.

The lawyer said he had tried to address his client’s issue with the prison authorities but did not receive any response, and as a result, his client felt that he was not taking his “inhumane treatment by prison authorities serious”.

The Ministry of Justice's Directorate of Legal Aid therefore appointed Windhoek-based defence lawyer Joshua Kaumbi to represent the accused. Townsend confirmed his new legal representative before court.

The two Americans each face a charge of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, the unlawful importation of a firearm into Namibia, the illegal possession of a firearm, the illegal possession of ammunition and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

Townsend is still denying any involvement in the alleged killing, and has already entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the six charges levelled against him by the State.
During the duo's first court appearance on 14 January 2011, Townsend denied knowing the deceased, claiming that he first heard that name after his arrest.

Tomas and Townsend are the only names mentioned by the Namibian Police so far in connection with investigations into the 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 in January 2011.

Investigations launched by the police led them to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day, where they arrested Tomas and Townsend.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the police initially arrested the two on a charge of illegal possession of dagga so that they could keep them in custody while they were busy investigating the murder case and their links to Heckmair.

The two Americans are being held at the Windhoek Correctional Services’ facility, with no option to post bail.