Stella murders: Accused pleads not guilty to killing teen girls

Stella double murder accused Xander Bylsma, 19, pleaded not guilty in the Vryburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, Netwerk24 reported.

Bylsma is accused of murdering best friends Sharnelle Hough, 17, and Marna Engelbrecht, 16, in the early hours of Saturday, May 26, in the girls' hostel of Hoërskool Stella in the North West.

He allegedly strangled the girls then tried to make their deaths look like suicide.

Bylsma, who was arrested that evening, indicated at a court appearance in July that he didn't want to apply for bail out of fear for his own safety, YOU reported.

READ: Stella torn apart by double death of lifelong besties

According to Netwerk24, the case has been transferred to the High Court in Mmabatho.

In the meantime, Bylsma will be sent for psychological evaluation.

Post-mortems performed on Hough and Engelbrecht have confirmed that both girls were strangled. This is according to Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Fumani, provincial police spokesperson for North West, after the autopsies on the two friends were completed, YOU reported.

Bylsma allegedly first strangled both girls with his bare hands, then later made it look like they’d committed suicide.

Hough was found hanging by a rope from the guardrail on the stairs, while Engelbrecht was found dead on the floor of one of the bathrooms, apparently with the strap of a backpack tied around her neck.

The trial resumes on December 6.

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