KMIA employee's killers found guilty

2013-10-16 18:42

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Mbombela - Two men accused of murdering a Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) employee with a hammer three years ago were found guilty by the Nelspruit circuit of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Justin Fanyana Malambe, 41, also a KMIA employee, was found guilty of robbing and murdering Nonkululeko Thandi Khoza at her home in Dwaleni Trust outside White River on 21 May 2010.

His co-accused Sibusiso Wonder Phelembe, 29, was convicted of the robbery, the murder and of raping Khoza.

Justice Daisy Molefe postponed the case to Thursday for arguments in mitigation of sentencing.

The court heard on Monday that Khoza's half-naked body, with injuries to the head and chest, was discovered by relatives in her bedroom.

On Wednesday, Molefe said Malambe’s defence had applied for him to be acquitted on all counts, arguing that the State had failed to prove its case.

"The court has decided against this application," she said.

"The report from the DNA laboratory has found that the sweat found by the experts on the hammer handle used in the murder, has positively implicated the accused in the murder.".

Molefe found that Malambe was linked only to the robbery and murder charges.

"The court has found that there is no evidence linking the accused with the rape charge. The accused did give his blood for the DNA tests, but no evidence has positively linked him.

"He is therefore acquitted only on the rape charge, but is found guilty on the robbery and murder charges," Molefe said.

She said Khoza's cellphone had led the police to Phelembe.

"The accused was also linked to the rape charge after the DNA tests came back positive. There is no evidence on how the cellphone was taken from the deceased.

"There is also no evidence on whether the sex between the accused and the deceased was on agreement," the judge said.

Molefe said she was satisfied with the argument of prosecutor Kenneth Mashile that there was a prima facie case against Phelembe.

"The court has not heard the version of the accused. I am satisfied there is a prima facie case against him. All evidence including DNA results from the laboratory have linked him positively in all three counts and he is therefore found guilty as charged," she said.

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