28/10/2008 20:18 - (SA)
Nelspruit - A robber who murdered a guest at a bed and breakfast establishment in Mpumalanga was jailed for 33 years on Tuesday.
Given Godfrey Mokoena, 20, of Simile near Sabie was convicted of murder, armed robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition in the Nelspruit circuit of the Pretoria High Court.
He was found guilty of the murder of 31-year-old Jacobus Lodewicus Burger of Sabie, who was a guest at the Westlodge bed and breakfast on January 19, 2006.
Burger, his wife, Irma, their three children and his in-laws were staying at the Westlodge to celebrate his sister-in-law's birthday.
Three men entered their room at the lodge, while Burger was outside getting a gas bottle.
When Burger returned, Mokoena panicked and shot at Mrs Burger, but missed. He then shot her husband twice in the chest, killing him.
The other two suspects stole R800, a gun, a driver's license, a passport, car keys and 400 Krugerrands from the family.
Mokoena, who was arrested on January 24, pleaded not guilty saying he had been at home with his wife and child.
"I was discharged at 10:00 and I arrived home at 13:00. I didn't go anywhere for the rest of the day or night," said Mokoena.
He claimed that Mrs Burger pointed him out in the police line-up because she had seen him during his initial court appearances.
He said he lost contact with his wife and that she therefore couldn't be traced to provide an alibi for him.<> Judge Seun Moshiti found Mokoena guilty of all four charges and sentence him to 18 years for murder, 12 years for armed robbery and three years for the possession of unlawful firearm and ammunition.
"The accused doesn't deserve to get a lighter sentence as he poses a threat to the community," he said.
He said Mokoena failed to show any remorse during the trial and instead insisted on his innocence, wasting the court's time.
The other suspects were never traced. Neither were the stolen items.
- African Eye