Gang members get lengthy sentences

2019-09-25 06:00

The Free State High Court has cracked the whip in a gruesome gangster murder case when sentencing 12 gang members of the notorious Maroma gang to lengthy prison terms.

The 12 were sentenced on Thursday (19/09), after found guilty of murder, the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (gang related offences) and attempted obstruction of justice.

The sentences relate to the murder of Mpho Phuroe on 5 August 2017 in Bloemfontein. The victim was stabbed several times with a knife until he died at Sejake Section. The killers then set his body alight, elsewhere.

Judge Joseph Mhlambi sentenced the accused, Peter Ramolahlehi (32), Pule Eksteen (30), Bongani Mandla (31), Lebengula Bahukudi (30), Itumeleng Manyingiza (39), Senti Mahloane (33), Jack Booysen (30), Ben Moeketsi (26), Itumeleng Taylor (26), Themba Sefali (21), Lebohang Molelle (19) and Thapelo Moeketsi (21) to life imprisonment.

Sefali, Molelle and Taylor got an additional 25 years’ imprisonment for Phuroe’s murder.

Phaladi Shuping, provincial spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said investigation in the matter included DNA, which positively linked Moeketsi to Phuroe’s murder.

“The accused were arrested after the police got information of their involvement in the killing. The police seized a knife from Moeketsi. The DNA results from the knife matched the result from the sample of the deceased,” said Shuping.

He said the court heard the accused, who belong to the Maroma gang, accusing the deceased of being a member of the rival gang, called Born To Kill (BTK).

He said the murderers cited the victim in the presence of the BTK gang members.

“Ramolahlehi threatened some of the state witnesses, instructing them not to say anything to the police or else he will kill them.

“The witnesses reported these threats to the police. He was convicted of attempted obstruction of justice and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment,” said Shuping.

Shuping said the state prosecutor Advocate Antoinette Ferreira in arguing for aggravation of senten-cing, described the death of Phuroe as senseless and unprovoked.

“He (Phuroe) just thought he was going out for an enjoyable evening with friends and there was no action on his part that could have caused the accused to turn on him with such vicious murderous intent.

“The deceased did not stand a chance against the power of the group who attacked him, whilst they were singing songs to drown out his cries for help. His corpse was burned beyond recognition, to hide the crime,” Ferreira illustrate.

Fereirra further submitted that in this matter there indeed exists no cause to deviate from a life imprisonment sentence.

Judge Mhlambi concurred with the prosecutor that a suitable punishment will be life imprisonment for each of the nine accused and an additional 25 years’ imprisonment for the other three accused.

“The deceased did not stand a chance against the power of the group who attacked him.”

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