Teen too violent for juvenile jail

2010-12-12 14:58

A court has ruled that the 17-year-old youth accused in the farm murders of the Potgieter family in the Free State is too dangerous to be held with other youths in the juvenile ­section of Kroonstad Prison.

The court also ruled that he was a flight risk who had tried to evade ­arrest and, due to his alleged gruesome crimes, other children should not be exposed to him.

The youth and five other men are accused of murdering Attie Potgieter, his wife Wilna and their two-year-old daughter, Willemien, on their farm, Tweefontein, in the southern Free State a week ago. The family was buried in one grave on Friday.

The Lindley Magistrate’s Court this week also found that the youth could not be released into the custody of his mother.

City Press learned that the youth hid for hours under the canopy of a bakkie at his mother’s house while the police were searching for him.

Police then found a 9mm pistol with blood traces on it beneath the bonnet of the bakkie.

Police also found several bank cards covered in blood and a camera ­belonging to the Potgieters in the youth’s possession.

His mother also handed over her son’s blood-soaked clothing.

The murders were committed with a panga, a 9mm pistol and a .375 Magnum revolver.

The youth will turn 18 on February 17 next year. The court this week found that he should be kept with the adult suspects awaiting trial and not separately. Three of the accused – Stemmer Boy Mofokeng (22), Tapa Mopontola Mofokeng (23) and Paulus Samson Vusimuzi Khumalo (22)?– worked on Potgieter’s farm.

Together with two other men – Tshololo Tello Mischach Letala (18) and Telleko Sex Seekoei (19) – they face eight charges ranging from murder and aggravated robbery to the ­illegal possession of firearms.

Stemmer Mofokeng has a 15-month-old baby – almost the same age as ­baby Willemien Potgieter, who was shot in the head.

His mother, Maria Mofokeng, and the mother of his child, Liesbet ­Xaba, this week told City Press that Mofokeng denied committing the robbery and murders.

“He knows nothing. He was at the storeroom when he heard the glass break. We do not know the other men who are accused,” Xaba said.

Mofokeng had been working on the farm for more than a year and was earning R1?200 a month.

Xaba said Mofokeng enjoyed his work and he and Attie Potgieter had got along very well.

“He said the farmer liked him a lot and that made the other workers jealous. A couple of months ago he said the other workers wanted to kill him (Potgieter) because he liked Stemmer more than the others,” she said.
The six suspects will appear in court tomorrow to apply for bail.

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