American murder suspect loses third lawyer

23 Jul 2018 13:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL(NAMPA) - American national, Marcus Kevin Tomas, who is facing a charge of murder in connection with the killing of Windhoek resident Andre Heckmair in 2011, is now without legal representation after his lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo withdrew from the case.
Amoomo withdrew from the case on Monday, a few minutes before the murder trial was scheduled to continue before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg, citing conflict of interest as one of the State witnesses is also his client in a criminal matter which is still pending at the Windhoek Magistrate's Court.
The proceeding of the trial was thereafter put on hold until Tuesday to allow the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid to appoint another government-sponsored defence lawyer for Tomas.
Amoomo is the third defence lawyer to withdraw from representing Tomas after Willem Visser and Monty Karuaihe.
Visser withdrew from the case in 2015 after Tomas told the court at beginning of the trial that he wanted to plead guilty to the charges.
Karuaihe decided not to continue with the matter on 02 January 2016 after he lost interest in the case.
Tomas, 30, is charged in the matter alongside his alleged accomplice and fellow American national, Kevan Donell Townsend, 29.
Mbanga Siyomuinji is representing Townsend.
The two men each face charges 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.
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.
Townsend and Tomas are the only names mentioned by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) so far in connection with the investigation into the murder.
According to the police, Heckmair was found dead behind the wheel of a Land Cruiser pick-up at a cul-de-sac in Klein Windhoek residential area on 07 January 2011.
Investigations launched by the police led them to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day, where they arrested Townsend and Tomas on 13 January 2011 on a charge of illegal possession of cannabis so that they could keep them in custody while they were busy investigating the murder case and their links to Heckmair.
NamPol's Crimes’ 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 that were missing from Heckmair's car.
The two Americans remain in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, with no option to post bail until their next court appearance.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef is defending the State's case.