Man in court for cemetery murder

2012-02-24 18:19
Welkom - A man accused of the graveyard killing of Welkom resident Michael van Eck appeared in the Virginia circuit court on Friday.

The trial of Maartens van der Merwe, 24, was postponed to April 16.

The court ordered that Van der Merwe be transferred to Pretoria Central Prison where a private psychiatric evaluation would be done to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.

Van der Merwe is accused of helping Charn van Heerden murder and dismember Van Eck, 23, at a Welkom cemetery in April 2010.

Separate trials

Van der Merwe's trial was separated from Van Heerden's last year. He has yet to enter a plea.

Van Heerden was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars on November 25, after being convicted of Van Eck's murder and dismemberment.

Some of Van Eck's remains were found in a shallow grave at the cemetery, while others - including his facial skin, an eye, and his ears - were found in the couple's fridge.

Other body parts were found in a cupboard and in their garden.

Free State Judge Albert Kruger declared Van Heerden a dangerous criminal.

He ordered her to return to court in 20 years for a re-evaluation of her case.

The court would decide then, with the help of experts, whether she was fit to be released back into society or needed to remain in jail.

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