Trio guilty of gunning down grape farmer

2012-09-14 10:36

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Cape Town - Three men were found guilty of gunning down Stellenbosch grape farmer Alberto Costa on his veranda last February, it was reported on Friday.

The Cape Times reported that Mfundiso Yese, Simamkele Mralaza and Cedrick Vusumzi Mphakathi were convicted of murder and housebreaking with intent to commit robbery, in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Judge Andre le Grange found the men acted with a common purpose and met in advance to plan the robbery.

Costa's death in the early hours of February 18 2011 sparked upheaval in the farming community, amid a spate of burglaries and robberies in the area.

His wife Zelda told the newspaper she was now a single mother to two children and also had to keep her husband's four farms running.

"It sounds so clichéd, but it doesn't matter what happens to them [the men found guilty], nothing will bring him back."

The fourth man convicted of Costa's murder, Vizicelo Madolo, took a plea bargain in June and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The sentencing of his three accomplices was expected to begin on Tuesday.

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