Two found guilty for murder of 6-month-old Zahnia Woodward

2018-11-29 15:50
Supporters of Zahnia Woodward and her family celebrate the court judgment. (Jenni Evans/News24)

Supporters of Zahnia Woodward and her family celebrate the court judgment. (Jenni Evans/News24)

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Two men have been found guilty of murdering six-month-old Zahnia Woodward while she sat on her father's lap in Ocean View, Cape Town.

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney also found the men – Christopher September and Larry Johnson – guilty of several charges of attempted murder. These convictions related to people who scattered as the fatal shots were fired from a white VW Golf in the vicinity of a park on December 30, 2016.

They were also found guilty of the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Johnson's mother Miriam was found guilty of trying to conceal the Golf used in the shooting.

However, Henney said he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that co-accused Taswill Kriel and Morné May were also guilty of murder, attempted murder, and firearm-related charges.

They were allowed to step out of the dock and walk back to freedom as friends and family of baby Zahnia lined the court and did their best to abide by Henney's stern order that they don't cause a commotion.

Healing process can begin

Another person, Simanay Kindo, entered into a plea and sentencing agreement in August, admitting to obstruction of justice for her part in hiding the Golf used in the shooting. She was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder.

But outside the court, Zahnia's supporters held up a banner, bearing a picture of the toddler, and celebrated the judgment.

"At least somebody is guilty," her mother Cindy said.

"Somebody is sitting for her murder. It's not like everybody is just walking free," she said.

"The process can now eventually begin where we can actually heal from what happened."

Zahnia was on her father Bradley Robyn's lap in the run-up to New Year festivities on the day of the shooting.

The toddler dropped her dummy and as Robyn leaned down to pick it up, shots were suddenly fired at them from a white Golf he had seen cruising past earlier in the day.

Harsh words

Zahnia was shot in the head and died a few hours later.

She would have been around two years and five months old on Thursday.

In summing up his evidence, Henney poked holes in the accused's alibis.

Looking at the reasons they had given for swapping from a white Golf to a purple Golf after the shooting, and apparently abandoning the white Golf, Henney said it showed that they were trying to disconnect themselves from possible evidence.

READ: Baby Zahnia murder: One accused admits to hiding car used in shooting

Henney also found many of the eyewitnesses' testimony credible and reliable, but had harsh words for September and Johnson's alibis.

"Why?" he asked, as he poked holes in their claims.

The case was postponed to Monday for sentencing proceedings. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  shootings  |  crime
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