WINDHOEK – Twenty-four-year-old Romeo Scheiffer’s lawyers say they will appeal yesterday’s High Court conviction and sentence of 48 years handed down to Scheiffer for murdering his parents.
Judge Naomi Shivute sentenced Scheiffer to an effective 48 years’ imprisonment for killing his mother and father at their home in Khomasdal on January 18, 2008.
“This case is arguably the most horrific case I have ever presided over,” Shivute said before she announced the sentence, adding that the young man committed one of the most serious of crimes in a vicious manner. When Scheiffer committed the crime he was a couple of months shy of his 19th birthday, but the judge said Schieffer did not demonstrate any remorse during the court proceedings.
However, Schieffer’s legal representative, Advocate Winnie Christiaans informed New Era just after sentencing that he had already received instructions from Schieffer to lodge an appeal against both the conviction and sentence.
Shivute motivated her decision for the 48-year prison term, saying society expects that people who commit heinous crimes are given lengthy sentences. “A failure to do that will put the administration of justice in disrepute,” the judge remarked.
Shivute said his parents were killed in a cold-blood execution style. “The male deceased died of gunshot injuries to the head. The chief postmortem report findings, among other things, revealed that the deceased had gunshot injuries to the head, with injuries to the brain,” she emphasised. The court found that the death of Schieffer’s mother was caused by multiple projectile injuries to the head, neck, chest, legs and abdomen. The judge noted that three projectiles were recovered from her body, a knife blade was embedded in the lateral aspect of her neck and there were two incision wounds on the right cheek and left leg. Further, the woman had 17 bullet wounds on her body, which according to the judge, “is clear evidence that she was subjected to a merciless prolonged attack. It also shows that the accused wanted her to die at any cost.”
The only mitigating factors the judge considered are that Scheiffer is a first offender and spent a long time in custody as a trial-awaiting prisoner. “Although the accused was a youthful offender at the time he committed these offences, I cannot ignore the fact two innocent lives were taken away for no apparent reason. The terror and anguish they endured at the hands of their own son is unimaginable,” said Shivute.
The judge said she weighed the interest of Scheiffer, the seriousness of the offences committed and the interest of society and, in the attempt to achieve a delicate balance that must be struck, she sentenced Scheiffer to 28 years on the first count of murder and 28 years on the second count of murder, of which eight years are to run concurrently with the sentence on the first count. Scheiffer received a warning for the theft charges.
By Roland Routh