Baby Zahnia murder: Court hears of delivery of bag of 'guns' to accused

2018-10-18 18:23
Zahnia Woodward was six month old when she was murdered, killed by a single bullet to the head. (Aljoscha Kohlstock)

Zahnia Woodward was six month old when she was murdered, killed by a single bullet to the head. (Aljoscha Kohlstock)

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The cousin of one of the men accused of a drive-by shooting – which resulted in the death of a six-month-old baby and the injury of five others – testified that she had delivered a shopping bag to him which contained what she thought were guns, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

State witness Simaney Kindo – who entered a plea and sentencing agreement for her involvement in getting rid of the car – said her aunt, accused Miriam Johnson, instructed her to take a parcel to Larry Johnson, who left it at his mother's house during the festive season in 2016.

On her way to Larry's father's house, she looked to see what was inside and saw "metal", which she later said were firearms.

But Judge Robert Henney questioned the relevance of the evidence because it happened prior to the day of the drive-by shooting.

Prosecutor Liezel Herbst countered that it pointed towards planned, premeditated murder.

Henney, however, said there was no direct link between happenings of the day of the shooting and the delivery of the guns prior to that.

Obstruction of justice

Christopher September, Larry Johnson, Taswill Kriel, Morné May and Miriam Johnson have pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, 11 attempted murder charges, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and obstructing the course of justice.

In August, Kindo admitted to hiding the VW Golf used in the shooting, which took place on December 30, 2016, in Ocean View.

Six-month-old Zahnia Woodward had been sitting with her father Bradley Robyn near the pavement outside his family's house. She was shot while she was on his arm. Robyn had reached for her dummy, which she spat out, when the bullet hit her in the head.

Her father was also shot in the thigh but managed to drive Zahnia to a hospital. Four other people were hit during the shooting and six others, who were also shot at, escaped uninjured.

According to Kindo's plea and sentencing agreement, Miriam Johnson – Larry Johnson's mother – asked her to find people to remove the car from Luntu Street, Masiphumelele on New Year's Eve two years ago because police were looking for the vehicle.

The VW Golf was moved around to various locations to keep it hidden. 

She claimed she had not been "fully aware of the specific crime the vehicle was used for. It came to my attention at a later stage that it was used during a shooting incident," but she nevertheless continued to hide the car, owned by Larry.

She could not recall how many times she moved the vehicle before police recovered it.

Advocate Mohamed Sibda, who represents Miriam Johnson, said his client had seen her son's car parked two streets away on the day of the shooting and, after she was unable to reach him, she asked people to push the vehicle home because it was damaged, with the mags and number plates missing.

Kindo recalled the car being pushed into the yard, and days later it was discovered that the battery had been stolen from it.

'Betraying my own people'

Sibda said Miriam later wanted the car off her premises and it was pushed on to the outside pavement. Later that evening, she saw the car had been removed and didn't know its whereabouts thereafter.

Kindo said Miriam had the keys and had told her the car would "get them into trouble", but never discussed with her why she wanted the car off her property.

"She's my aunt; I don't cross-question her."

Kindo testified that her aunt had told her to do what she wanted with the car "as long as it was out of her sight". 

Sibda denied this.

Henney asked Kindo if she didn't find it strange that Larry had not come to look for this car, and Kindo agreed that she did.

Kindo – who admitted to using tik at the time – told Henney she had "no problem with her cousin", but didn't get along well with her aunt, with whom she and her child had lived.

She said testifying against her family had left her feeling "like I am betraying my own people".

The trial resumes on Monday.

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