06 Aug 2019 16:10pm
ATT EDITORS: Additional information on postponement and Lutibezis withdrawal added at end of story.
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) Windhoek resident Lukas Nicodemus, accused of killing two women and burning their bodies at a dumpsite in the capital in January 2016, was found guilty as charged in the High Court here on Tuesday.
Nicodemus, 49, was found responsible for the deaths of Windhoek residents Johanie Naruses, 29, and Clemensia de Wee, 23, in a judgement handed down by High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg.
On the two charges of murder, he was found guilty with direct intent to kill.
Nicodemus was also found guilty as charged on a third count of defeating the course of justice when he burned and dumped the two victims bodies at a dumpsite in the Pionierspark residential area during the period of 06 and 07 January 2016.
He was, however, discharged on the fourth count of having failed to lock away his firearm or keeping his firearm in a proper safe after the prosecution could not prove this charge beyond reasonable doubt through the presentation of State witnesses evidence.
Judge Liebenberg in his judgement said the totality of the evidence presented before court by the prosecution shows that Nicodemus vehicle, which was found hidden at a different place in Windhoek, was indeed at the scene of the crime.
In addition, bloodstains found inside the vehicle actually belong to the two victims. This is credible and reliable evidence showing that Nicodemus was indeed responsible for the deaths of the two women, the judge said.
The court also rejected as false and afterthoughts Nicodemus defence evidence that someone else (a certain Bennie) was the real person responsible for the deaths of the two women.
At the beginning of his double murder trial last year, Nicodemus denied committing the offences and told the court he had no knowledge of the incident.
The two victims partially burnt bodies were discovered at the dumpsite by a security guard who was working in the area.
According to evidence presented during trial, Nicodemuss black sedan was later found by police abandoned at an unnamed location. The car was used in the transportation of the bodies of the two women, as police found bloodstains in it.
The victims remains were burned in an attempt to conceal the crime.
Nicodemus also underwent a 30-day psychiatric evaluation in August 2017, and was found to be fit to stand trial and understand court proceedings.
He remains in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facilitys trial-awaiting section since his arrest in January 2016 with no option to post bail, after the prosecution opposed the granting of bail on several occasions because of the seriousness of the alleged offences.
Legal Aid-funded defence lawyer Vernon Lutibezi appeared for Nicodemus.
Lutibezi, however, withdrew a few minutes after Nicodemus was found guilty after the two men could not find common ground on how to further proceed with the case.
The court has now directed the Ministry of Justices Directorate of Legal Aid to instruct and appoint another lawyer to defend Nicodemus.
The matter was thus postponed to Wednesday to allow the directorate enough time to find another lawyer to represent him.
State advocate Cliff Lutibezi (not related to defence lawyer) represented the prosecution in the matter.