Arrested Americans will stand trial in High Court

04 Oct 2013 08:40
WINDHOEK, 04 OCT (NAMPA) – Two American nationals arrested by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s Serious Crime Unit in connection with the alleged murder of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in January 2011, will stand trial in the Windhoek High Court.
The two foreigners - Marcus Kevin Tomas, 25, and the 24-year-old Kevan Townsend - made another appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court along Lüderitz Street on Friday morning, when Public Prosecutor Samantha Diergaardt informed them that their case is now being transferred from the Windhoek Magistrate's Court to the High Court, as per a decision taken by the Office of Prosecutor-General Martha Ekandjo-Imalwa.
The duo is scheduled to make their first appearance in the Windhoek High Court during a pre-trial conference on 14 November this year, in which both the defence team and the prosecution representative will come together to decide on how to proceed with the matter.
According to a decision by the Prosecutor-General (PG)’s office which was made available before court on Friday morning, 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.
Copies of the document containing the PG’s decision were also today given to the two Americans.
Accused Tomas, who is still without legal representation, told presiding Magistrate Duarte Kesslau that prominent Windhoek-based defence lawyer, Advocate Richard Metcalfe will represent him during trial in the High Court.
Flora Gaes is defending accused Townsend.
During the duo's first court appearance on 14 January 2011, Townsend denied knowing Heckmair, claiming that he first heard the 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.
Prompt investigations launched by the police led them to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day, where they arrested Tomas and Townsend.
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 accused were again on Friday remanded in custody at the Windhoek Central Prison, with no option to post bail until their next court appearance in the High Court on 14 November this year.