American murder accused to get new lawyer soon

24 Jul 2018 12:40pm
WINDHOEK, 24 JUL (NAMPA) – A new State-funded defence lawyer will be appointed by Wednesday for American national, Marcus Kevin Tomas, who faces a charge of murder in connection with the killing of Windhoek resident, Andre Heckmair in 2011.
The Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid on Tuesday appointed and instructed local lawyer Kasper Gilroy, but he was unable to represent Tomas as he is fully booked in other courts on the dates the alleged murder trial is set down for continuation.
In the result, the trial was again on Tuesday postponed to Wednesday to allow the officials at Legal Aid to appoint another government-sponsored defence lawyer for accused Tomas. His new representation will be made public in court on Wednesday.
Tomas was on Monday left without legal representation after his lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo withdrew from the case. Amoomo withdrew a few minutes before the trial was scheduled to continue before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg, citing a conflict of interest as one of the State witnesses is also his client in a criminal matter pending at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Amoomo is the third 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 the beginning of the trial that he wanted to plead guilty and Karuaihe withdrew on 02 January 2016 after losing interest in the case.
Tomas, 30, is on trial alongside his alleged accomplice and fellow American national, Kevan Donell Townsend, 29, who is represented by Mbanga Siyomuinji.
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 the Klein Windhoek residential area on 07 January 2011 and investigations led the police to a guesthouse in Windhoek West later that day. Townsend and Tomas were arrested there on 13 January 2011 on a charge of illegal possession of cannabis so that they could be kept in custody while the police were busy investigating the murder case and their links to Heckmair.
NamPol’s crime investigations 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 police custody.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef represents the State in the matter.