US court throws out SA man's murder confession

2014-04-17 05:30
(via Web)

(via Web)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - A South African man's apparent confession to four murders, which was videotaped by Texas Rangers after his arrest, has been thrown out by a US court.

In his ruling, Judge Albert Mitchell found that Muziwokuthula "Muzi" Madondo's state and federal rights had been violated after his requests for an attorney, as well as his request not speak to the police, had been ignored.

Madondo is to be tried before a jury in the Quay County District Court in the US state of New Mexico for two of the four murders - those of father and son Bobby Gonzales, 57, and Gabriel Baca, 37.

Mitchell, who will preside over that trial, ruled on Monday that "the oral and video statements of the defendant are suppressed".

Madondo has pleaded not guilty to the first degree murders of Gonzales and Baca. He allegedly shot them in a motel in Tucumcari before fleeing to Texas, where he was arrested in March 2011.

He also faces a charge of tampering with evidence.

According to the ruling, Mitchell found that Madondo had twice asked for an attorney.

"At no time did the defendant waive his right to counsel or his right to remain silent. The defendant clearly articulated on two occasions to law enforcement officials who were holding him in custody, both Texas and New Mexico officials, that he wanted a lawyer and did not want to speak."

Mitchell ruled that the subsequent interview with Madondo was a violation of both his state and federal rights to an attorney and to remain silent.

Search warrant

Mitchell rejected an application by Madondo's lawyer Roger Bargas to have the search warrant used to search Madondo and his van at the time of his arrest declared invalid.

He also ruled that the seizure of Madondo's bible was legal and could be used as evidence in the case as it was evidence gained as a result of the search warrant.

Mitchell said Bargas had argued that the statements obtained from Madondo "were based upon the utilisation of the Bible, and therefore should be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree".

Mitchell said that argument was not relevant since he was suppressing the video and oral evidence as Madondo's rights to an attorney and to remain silent had been ignored.

The jury at Madondo's trial may yet get to hear what he said to officers as Mitchell in a separate order allowed both the District Attorney and Bargas to lodge an appeal to the New Mexico Supreme Court before he stands trial should they wish to do so.

Bargas is representing Madondo only in connection with the Gonzales and Baca murders, and not in connection with murders he allegedly committed in Ohio.

It is in the video and oral statements suppressed by Mitchell, that Madondo allegedly confessed to the murder of FirstMerit Bank executive Jacquelyn Hilder, 60. She was shot dead in her home in Akron, Ohio, on 17 February 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 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.

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

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.