WINDHOEK – The trial of the two Americans charged with the Mafia-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011 has been set down for September 29 this year.
Judge President Petrus Damaseb confirmed this yesterday during their latest pre-trial conference in the Windhoek High Court. At a previous appearance before the Judge President Marcus Thomas, aged 31 and Kevin Townsend (30) asked for an expedited trial. Thomas and Townsend face counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice. The State alleges that they killed Heckmair, who is the son of the owners of the Cattle Baron Steak Ranch, by shooting him Mafia-style in the back of his head on January 07, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek.
State also alleges that they robbed Heckmair of his cellphone and wallet containing at 100 Swiss Francs. They are also alleged to have imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit or license, as well as the possession of a 7.65mm pistol without a license and the unlawful possession of ammunition. The two are further alleged to have removed a notebook from police custody after the police seized it as an exhibit and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book. According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment the two accused met in a jail in New York in the United States of America where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend who was in police custody. After the release of Townsend they travelled to Helsinki in Finland from where they forwarded a package to Namibia containing a firearm silencer, but was labeled ‘furniture spare’ or ‘table leg replacement’ in preparation of their plan to travel to Namibia to kill the deceased.
After they arrived in Namibia, it is stated in the indictment, they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Heckmair and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol. After they managed to contact Heckmair they lured him to the quiet Gusinde Street in the plush Eros suburb where they shot him in the head, according to the indictment. After their arrest they managed to remove the notebook when they were brought to one of the investigator’s offices to collect their clothing and toiletries. Both Thomas and Townsend have been remanded in custody at the Windhoek Central Prison until their next court appearance.
By Roland Routh