21/01/2008 19:00 - (SA)
Pietermaritzburg - The 18-year-old-killer of KwaZulu-Natal farmer David Green was sentenced on Monday to 24 years in jail for murder, four years for stealing two cellphones and three years for the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Judge Piet Koen ordered in the Pietermaritzburg High Court that Nkosithemba Ntshaba of the Escourt district serve at least 16 years before being considered for parole.
All the sentences are to run concurrently.
Green was shot dead on December 20 at his Escort farm homestead. Ntshaba evaded arrest until January 10 and he pleaded guilty to the murder and other crimes on Monday.
In his guilty plea Ntshaba said: "I suffer from sever eczema for which I require constant medication as the itchiness can be unbearable at times.
"At one of those times I asked my father for money so that I could buy medication but he had no money. He is the sole breadwinner of our household.
"Out of desperation I decided to steal money from Green and took a gun. While on his farm I was confronted by him and I drew the firearm and demanded money. He called for his dogs and I panicked and shot at him and the bullet hit him in the head and he fell down.
"I quickly went into his home and stole two cellphones from the kitchen and I fled."
Koen said that he had callously shot an old gentleman and then went to the kitchen to steal.
He said that until July 2007, persons under 18 years of age were considered minors, but were now considered adults.
Persons under 18 could now be jailed for life for premeditated murder unless there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying a lesser sentence.
Koen found such circumstances for Ntshaba.
Green, 70, was a council member of the KwaZulu-Natal agricultural union and a pioneer of the Boran cattle breed in South Africa.
He was a palaeontologist who found valuable specimens, had his own herbarium and discovered two types of indigenous plants which bear his name.