SA man killed by serial killer in US

2011-04-14 23:00

Pietermaritzburg - A former Maritzburg College pupil murdered in America was the victim of a serial killer - a South African who has been arrested in connection with four murders.

Zenzele Mdadane (25) was found dead on February 19 in Butler Township, Ohio.

Mdadane was from Hillcrest near Durban and matriculated at College in 2004. He was an avid rugby player.

At the time his body was discovered police did not know why Mdadane was in Ohio, because the only address listed for him was in New Jersey.

Muziwokuthula Madonda (33) was arrested in Texas on March 27 after fleeing New Mexico where two other killings were committed. The Witness could not establish where in South Africa he comes from.

According to a report in the Dayton Daily News in Ohio on April 9, Madonda is suspected of a string of murders that started in Ohio with the robbery and murder of bank vice president Jacquelyn Hilder on February 17.

On February 19 Mdadane’s body was discovered with multiple gunshot wounds. The newspaper reported that Madonda and Mdadane were acquaintances involved in a dispute over money and a visa.

Butler Township Police Chief Danny Hobbs was quoted as saying Madonda made statements to Ohio detectives implicating himself in Mdadane’s death.

According another Ohio newspaper, the Beacon Journal, police detectives John Bell and Michael Schaeffer confirmed that Madonda confessed to Hilder’s death during a nearly three-hour interview last week in Houston, Texas.

The Beacon Journal reported that Madonda was arrested near Houston on March 27 after fleeing New Mexico, where he was suspected in the robbery and slayings of two men whose bullet-riddled bodies were found atop each other in a motel room.

Clear his conscience

According to Ohio police, Madonda, who studied theology at a Georgia seminary after arriving in the US in 2008, confessed to the slayings in order to clear his conscience.

Madonda also studied engineering in the United Kingdom. When he got to the US about three years ago he first lived in New Jersey.

Commenting on Madonda’s confession, Schaeffer said: "He wanted to cleanse his soul".

Bell was quoted as saying: “He wanted to make life better for his parents. He wanted to be a success by age 30, and he felt he was a failure because that didn’t happen.

“So he decided to start taking shortcuts. That was one of his motivations [in the robberies and slayings].’

Victor Browne, who lived with Hilder, said Madonda was a quiet, religious man who attended church every Sunday, reported the Beacon Journal.

Browne said he tried to help Madonda learn the satellite TV business. But instead, he believes, Madonda studied Browne's lifestyle and learned Hilder, a 60-year-old divorcee with one adult daughter, was wealthy and potentially vulnerable.

Police believe Madonda, desperate for money, was en route to Akron, Ohio, to begin work on a new satellite TV contract when he conceived his plan to rob Hilder.

"Basically, [Madonda] needed money and he figured that since she's a vice president of a bank, she must have money,’" police detective Lieutenant David Whiddon said.

Tracked down

After the attack on Hilder, Madonda disappeared and surfaced again, working on another satellite TV contract hundreds of kilometres away in New Mexico. There, authorities said, Madonda roomed in a motel next to Gabriel Baca, (37) and his stepfather, Bobby Gonzales (57).

On March 24, the bodies of the two men were found atop each other in their motel room bathroom. Both were shot to death, said reports.
The men were last seen four days earlier, about the same time Madonda checked out of his room and left New Mexico.

Arrest warrants were issued, and Madonda was tracked down to Texas, where he was arrested on March 27. The revolver used in the slayings was recovered, said media reports.

Madonda is charged in Ohio with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. He is also charged with two counts of murder in New Mexico.

The SA international relations department said yesterday it is providing consular assistance to Madonda.

“We have heard about the case. Normally when a South African is in distress in another country, the embassy will render consular assistance,” said spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

Mdadane’s father, Zenzele Mdadane snr, declined to comment when The Witness contacted him yesterday. Mdadane Snr runs an engineering company in Durban.

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