Shamonique's killer should get light sentence for raping girlfriend, court told

2016-12-07 16:54
Jerome Amerika, 23, who was found guilty of raping and killing 10-year-old Shamonique Claasen. (Jenna Etheridge/News24)

Jerome Amerika, 23, who was found guilty of raping and killing 10-year-old Shamonique Claasen. (Jenna Etheridge/News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A man who raped his girlfriend twice should receive a lighter sentence because she took him back and never laid a charge, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

This was part of defence lawyer Daniel Theunissen’s closing arguments for his client Jerome Amerika.

The court recently found Amerika, 23, guilty of raping his girlfriend twice last year after threatening her with an axe.

The same court also convicted Amerika of raping and killing 10-year-old Shamonique Claasen in Paarl 10 months ago.

Referring to the rape case involving his girlfriend, Judge Robert Henney asked the parties to prepare additional arguments so he could consider an appropriate sentence.

Theunissen described the abusive relationship Amerika had with his girlfriend as complex. There were destructive dynamics on both sides.

He believed they were "ill".

His analysis was that the girlfriend showed signs of battered woman syndrome and that she had felt guilty or responsible, and took him back after he asked for forgiveness.

'A wolf stays a wolf'

Amerika, meanwhile, had a difficult upbringing, felt he had no status in the community, and brought women down to make himself feel better, the lawyer said.

At one point, Henney commented: "A wolf stays a wolf, even though he has sheep’s clothing on."

The girlfriend twice obtained an interdict against Amerika, but took him back because she believed he would change. They ended up living together as a couple with their 4-year-old child.

Prosecutor Maria Marshall countered that Amerika was an abuser who had no respect for his partner. He should not get the benefit of the doubt.

She said it should be kept in mind that the two were separated at the time of the rapes.

"There are a lot of women out there who find themselves in the same situation and don’t make a case or speak out," she said in Afrikaans.

The State initiated the rape case on her behalf because it felt it had a duty to uphold the rule of law. She said the court should be careful of not send the wrong message about rape.

'Shown no remorse'

Henney said it was rare for such a case to reach the high court.

"Thousands of rapes happen every day in a family, relationship, and marriage setting. The parties forgive each other and the rapes never come to light. What is the court to do?" he pondered.

Shamonique went missing in Paarl on February 27, a day before her 11th birthday. Her body was later found rolled in a blanket and tied up with wire under Amerika’s bed.

She had a black bag over her head and a stab wound to the chest. Marshall said the mother still struggled to accept her child’s death.

The killing was senseless and the injuries, serious and brutal.

"He got on well with Shamonique and abused that trust. The accused has shown no remorse. When the family came to testify, he smirked."

Amerika kept his head down in the dock.

He is expected to be sentenced for all the crimes next Tuesday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.