Thursday, 1 May 2008

'You can nail me to the cross'

29/04/2008 18:06 - (SA)

Grahamstown - A murderer who has been jailed for life told the Grahamstown High Court on Tuesday he could be nailed "to the cross so I can die for the sins of others".

Roro Mntwaphi, 41, made the remark moments before Judge Johan Froneman sentenced him and Mbulelo Kula, 25, for the murder of Stephanus Williams, 60, in Stutterheim on May 8 last year.

Mntwaphi and Kula are from townships outside Stutterheim.

Medical evidence indicated Williams died as a result of multiple blows to the head and neck, his neck was broken and he had been lashed with a steel dog chain.

His partner, Thelma Petzer, 68, was assaulted and struck repeatedly on the head and in the face with a 7.65mm pistol.

Froneman handed down a further 15 years in prison for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and another year for the unlawful possession of a semi-automatic firearm.

The sentences will run concurrently with the life sentence.

The judge dismissed Mntwaphi's application for leave to appeal against both conviction and sentence, saying no other court "could be reasonably expected to come to a different conclusion".

Before sentencing, Mntwaphi asked through his lawyer Deon Geldenhuys to address the court.

Mntwaphi stood with his arms folded and said he was not satisfied in the way the trial had been conducted.

When the judge reminded Mntwaphi that he could only address him on matters pertaining to sentencing, and not complain about his legal counsel, he replied: "If I am Jesus you can nail me to the cross, so as I can die for the sins of others."

He then promptly sat down.

Froneman said he could find little that could justify the imposition of a lesser sentence than that prescribed by legislation.

"Both the accused have a long list of previous convictions, and both accused carried out a sustained and brutal assault against the deceased, and as a result, they are both sentenced to life imprisonment," the judge said.


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