By Anna Shilongo
The trial in which 37-year-old Johannes Amunyela is suspected of having unlawfully and intentionally killed his girlfriend at Olukango village in Ondangwa district, started on Tuesday in the High Court.
Amunyela, who is accused of having brutally inflicted 23 stab wounds on his girlfriend, Aina Niita Shiimi, in July 2004, pleaded not guilty to all charges when he appeared before Justice Louis Muller in the High Court.
His case was previously heard in the Ondangwa Magistrates’ Court but was transferred to the High Court for a plea and for trial.
Amunyela’s trial was set to start in the High Court in January last year, but did not get off as scheduled because his lawyer withdrew from the matter.
During the proceedings, a formal plea was presented to the court by his defense counsel, Lucia Hamutenya.
In his formal plea, read by his lawyer, the accused said that he stabbed the deceased with a knife after she stabbed him with the same knife in the left leg.
The accused further stated that he had no intention of killing his girlfriend.
Amunyela made three submissions in the High Court on Tuesday, through his defence counsel, whereby he admitted identifying the deceased’s body.
He further admitted he caused the death of his girlfriend when he inflicted about five to six stab wounds on her body, but denied that there were any further stab wounds on the deceased’s body at the time the body was removed from the scene to the mortuary.
Meanwhile, the State called on 48-year-old Lena Amunyela, an elder sister of the accused, to testify.
Amunyela, who was cross-questioned by State prosecutor Dominic Lisulo, told the court that she was at the open market where she normally traded when the accused came to her at around 16h30.
The accused reportedly told her he was going through difficulties, and asked her to accompany him.
The prosecutor asked her if he did tell her about the difficulties that he was going through and how his facial expression was to which she replied: ” No, he never told me about his problems, he was just quiet, looking rather worried.”
The accused drove to Tonuka Bar at Ondangwa, where his younger brother Malakia worked.
“Amunyela bought himself a nippy of alcohol and started drinking. Thereafter, I just saw him crying when he told Malakia that he killed Niita. He said he killed Niita because she wasted his money and now that he is bankrupt, she doesn’t want him again,” said the sister.
“Did he say that in your presence and what did you do?” asked the prosecutor.
“When I heard that, I called my husband at the office to inform him about the incident but he was not in the office,” she replied.
She went to look for her husband at work, and they met on the way. At that point, she decided to take her brother together with her husband and Malakia to the police station to hand himself over.
Upon their arrival at the Ondangwa Police Station, the accused told the officers on duty that he killed his girlfriend Niita.
The police arrested Amunyela and asked him to show where he had left the deceased’s body.
“He showed the police and told them that there is Niita I killed her,” the court heard. The body was found at Olukango village in the Ondangwa district at around 20h00.
The deceased was found lying on her stomach.
Asked whether the accused had any stab wounds on his body, Amunyela recalled seeing her brother wounded on the left side below the neck and on the leg.
“He showed me his wound himself, and he told me that he was trying to commit suicide, he had some blood in the neck, but I refused to look at the other wound on the leg because I didn’t want to see blood,” she said.
Amunyela was also asked to tell the court how the deceased’s body looked.
The State asked her to tell the court whether there were any problems between the deceased and the accused, but she said she was not aware of any problems at the time. Amunyela was freed on N$3 000 bail in early October 2005, but he was rearrested a few months later after he failed to appear in the High Court for his trial.
The accused was remanded in custody and the trial continues.