SA man’s US murder trial might happen in 2015

2014-10-03 09:30

A South African man charged with the murder of four people in the United States will stand trial for two of those murders four years after his arrest.

According to Quay County District Court records in the US state of New Mexico, Muziwokuthula “Muzi” Madondo will stand trial before a jury on March 2 2015 – almost four years after his arrest in Texas.

However, these dates are not cast in stone. There is an appeal over whether an apparent confession Madondo made to police officers at the time of his arrest on March 28 2011 in the town of Conroe, near Houston, Texas, can be heard by a jury.

He is accused of shooting dead father and son Bobby Gonzales (57) and Gabriel Baca (37) in a hotel in Tucumcari, before fleeing to Texas.

New Mexico’s Attorney-General has to lodge what is called the “brief in chief” with the New Mexico Supreme Court by October 16.

This had not been done yesterday, but Quay County District Court attorney Tim Rose said that his office had, in April, sent all the necessary papers for the brief in chief to the Attorney-General’s office.

“We are hoping that there will be a ruling by then,” said Rose.

After the brief in chief has been lodged, Madondo’s lawyer Roger Bargas has 120 days to submit an answering brief. Then the Attorney-General has another 20 days to submit a responding brief.

The five judges of the New Mexico supreme court could rule on the basis of the documents submitted, but they may also ask for the parties to argue their case orally before a ruling is made.

In the video and oral statements suppressed by Mitchell, Madondo allegedly confesses to the murder of FirstMerit Bank executive Jacquelyn Hilder (60). She was shot dead in her home in Akron, Ohio, on February 17 2011.

Two days later, about 300km away, the bullet-riddled body of Maritzburg College old boy Zenzele Mdadane (25) was found in the woods in Butler Township, Ohio.

Madondo (34) also allegedly confessed to this killing.

Madondo has yet to appear in court in Ohio for the murders of Hilder and Mdadane, or to plead to them.

Originally from Richmond, near Pietermaritzburg, Madondo emigrated to the US in 2008 to study theology.

New Mexico does not have the death penalty, but if Madondo is convicted of the two murders in Ohio, he could face the death penalty in that state.

At the time of his arrest it was reported that Madondo had claimed he wanted the death penalty.

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