Another murder conviction for boxing champ's killer

2015-06-10 20:42
Die bokslegende Corrie Sanders. Foto: CHRISTIAAN KOTZE

Die bokslegende Corrie Sanders. Foto: CHRISTIAAN KOTZE

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Pretoria - A Zimbabwean man convicted of murdering former heavyweight boxing champion Corrie Sanders was on Wednesday convicted in the High Court in Pretoria of a second murder committed in the same area about two weeks earlier.

Judge Lettie Malopa found Samuel Mabena, 28, and Bismack Dick, 27, guilty of breaking into the house of Brits farmer Mauritz Oberholzer, 66, murdering him and robbing him and his wife Rita of a rifle safe, a firearm and jewellery on September 5 2012.

Mabena and two other Zimbabwean men, Paida Fish and Chris Moyo, were earlier this year sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for murdering Sanders at a lodge near Brits on September 22 2012.

Sanders died in hospital a day after being shot during a robbery while attending his nephew's 21st birthday party at the lodge.

Sanders' family supported Oberholzer's family during the trial.

Rita Oberholzer earlier testified that she and her husband were woken in the early hours of the morning by the sound of the front door being broken down.

She ran to the bathroom and locked herself inside after seeing intruders at their bedroom window and hearing others breaking down the bedroom door.

She listened while her husband struggled with the intruders and heard three shots.

Had to step over her husband's body

She later managed to phone their security company, but had to step over her husband's body, which lay in a pool of blood, to meet the security guards.

She realised afterwards that the security gate at their front door had been broken out of the wall.

Dick was found in possession of Mrs Oberholzer's revolver, but claimed Mabena had given him the firearm in exchange for borrowing R300 and that he had nothing to do with Oberholzer's murder or robbery.

Mabena pointed out the safe to the police and made a confession to them in which he admitted being part of the gang which murdered and robbed Oberholzer.

His blood was also found on the safe which he pointed out to the police, where it was hidden in the veld on a nearby farm.

Mabena denied that it was his blood on the safe and suggested that the police must have used blood drawn from him on a previous occasion.

False, contradictory and dishonest

He claimed to have been assaulted by the police into confessing to crimes he knew nothing about, but photos of him taken during the pointing-out showed no visible injuries.

Malopa found Mabena had made the confession and pointing-out freely and voluntarily.

She rejected both accused's versions as false, contradictory and dishonest.

Dick's explanation of how he came to be in possession of Mrs Oberholzer's firearm just five days after the murder and robbery was "plainly false, a fabrication, a lie", she said.

"He draws a blank on where he was on 5 September. He knows where he was, but doesn't want to tell the court. The only inference is that he is one of the people who committed the offences," Malopa said. 

"...Accused two (Mabena) was not an honest witness and also kept on contradicting himself and changing his version. He was evasive and fabricated a version.

"...It is totally improbable that the state witnesses would have fabricated their evidence and falsely implicated them.

"Both are found guilty on all counts. They acted in common purpose with other perpetrators," she said.

The trial was postponed to June 24 for sentencing proceedings.

Read more on:    corrie sanders  |  pretoria  |  crime

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