Man jailed for gangland-style shooting

2013-03-26 20:21

Pretoria - An Eersterust man has been jailed for 15 years for the gangland-style shooting of a father of two young children.

Sylvester Martin, 24, was sentenced by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday for the January 2010 murder of Avian Daniels.

Daniels was visiting a friend when he was accosted by Martin, who accused him of killing his brother and shot him twice without saying another word.

On his way out with the firearm still in his hand, he told someone: "The dog is dead and so is my brother."

The shooting took place in front of several witnesses, but Judge George Webster said all of them were apparently too scared to tell the court exactly what had happened.

He said the "goings and doings" at the house where Daniels was shot was suggestive of the Italian mafia, where "no-one saw or heard anything".

Webster said it was clear there were undisclosed driving forces behind the murder, and that far more had been concealed than was placed before the court.

Martin at first denied even being in Eersterust that night, but later told the court in mitigation he was sorry Daniels had died.

He said the victim's own firearm had been used to kill him, but he had no idea what had happened to either the firearm or the spent cartridges, which someone had removed from the murder scene.

Webster said there was no credible evidence that Daniels had been aggressive or had done or said anything which could have resulted in the shooting.

There had been a suggestion of drugs and gangs in Eersterust, and that there had been some form of meeting at the house that day.

Webster said there was no explanation for the other people in the room where the shooting took place, or why the owner of the house was so upset when charges were withdrawn against a second accused.

It was also strange that Martin went there specifically that night with a firearm to confront Daniels.

It raised the question that drugs might have been involved and that the people there might have been distributing drugs in Eersterust.

Webster said the conduct of those present had been strange, as they had not tried to intervene and had demurely witnessed a man being murdered in front of them without any concern and without reporting the shooting.

He said it was possible Martin had to demonstrate to those in the room that he was a worthy member of the group, and that older members of the group had coerced him into becoming an executioner by "eliminating competition".

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