SA man's US murder trial postponed

2013-07-12 08:53

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Durban - A South African man's trial on two of four murders, to which he reportedly confessed, has been postponed until October by a US court.

Muziwokuthula "Muzi" Madondo was schedule to stand trial before a jury for seven days from 29 July, but would now stand trial only on 21 October.

This was according to the State of New Mexico case log, a copy of which is in Sapa's possession.

According to the log, the decision to postponed the trial, in the Tucumcari District Court for Quay County, was made on 29 May.

Madondo has pleaded not guilty to the fist degree murders of father and son Bobby Gonzales and Gabriel Baca.

Tampering with evidence

He allegedly shot them in a motel in Tucumcari before fleeing to Texas, where he was arrested.

He also faces a charge of tampering with evidence.

The trial could still be affected by a ruling on a motion to suppress evidence brought last year by Madondo's lawyer Roger Bargas.

On 17 September, Judge Albert J Mitchell heard argument about why a jury should not hear the statements Madondo made to the police immediately after his arrest.

The case log does not indicate whether Mitchell has ruled on Bargas's application. Bargas could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last year, Bargas told Sapa the police illegally took statements from Madondo, despite his request for a lawyer.

He said the police also failed to immediately contact South African consular officials, who would have advised Madondo about his rights.

Confessed to killings

He further alleged that the police's search of Madondo's vehicle was illegal.

Bargas is representing Madondo only in connection with the Gonzales and Baca mutrders and not in connection with murders he allegedly committed earlier in Ohio.

Madondo allegedly confessed to the murder of FirstMerit Bank executive Jacquelyn Hilder, 60, who was shot dead in her home in Akron, Ohio, on 17 February 2011.

Two days later, about 300km away, the bullet-riddled body of Maritzburg College old boy Zenzele Mdadane, 25, was found in the woods in Butler Township, Ohio.

Madondo, 34, also allegedly confessed to this killing.

He was arrested on 28 March 2011 in Houston, Texas.

Originally from Richmond, near Pietermaritzburg, he emigrated to the US in 2008 to study theology.

New Mexico does not have the death penalty, but if Madondo is convicted of the two murders in Ohio, he could face the death penalty.
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