Jeffrey Barman, 24, who allegedly fatally slit the throat of the mother of his daughter at her four-year birthday party, denied the charge in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.
Barman told Judge Christi Liebenberg he is not guilty of the charges preferred against him except for the charge that he assaulted his nephew, Albertus Fransiscus Duncan. The assault he confessed to occurred on August 9, 2013.
While Barman’s State-funded lawyer, Willem Visser, informed the court the pleas were in accordance with his instructions, he seemed somewhat perplexed by the guilty plea to the extent that he had to ask the court’s permission to clear the matter up with Barman.
Visser did not enter a plea explanation and said except for certain admissions contained in the reply to the State’s Pre-trial Memorandum they put the onus of proof on the State.
The first witness to testify for the State was the man who witnessed the whole incident firsthand, according to him.
Ivan Hamaseb, a neighbour to the parents of the deceased Melanie Booysen – who was 20 years at the time of her demise, testified that the alleged murder happened right in front of his eyes.
The State alleges that Barman slit the throat of Booysen, the mother of his four-year-old daughter on November 10, 2012, with a broken glass.
Hamaseb informed the court that he arrived at the party for the second time between 15h00 and 16h00 that Saturday afternoon after he first left his girlfriend Sonnetha Tjipukapuka there at around 12.
During his first visit, he found Barman with some friends drinking “hot stuff” (hard liquor) he said.
According to Hamaseb, the accused offered him a drink, but he declined as it was “still early”.
He left and when he returned, he saw Barman was inebriated as his speech was slurred and was unsteady on his feet.
He also said that Barman seemed very aggressive.
When Hamaseb arrived, Barman asked for his cellphone and after a while he decided to go and ask for it back as Barman was drunk and could easily leave with his phone.
When he reached Barman where he and the deceased were together with the deceased’s mother, Susanna Aletta Booysen, at the back of the residence where they were barbecuing some meat he overheard the deceased saying to Barman “My father asked why you burned the meat,” Hamaseb informed the court.
“Who burned the meat,” Barman asked the deceased and after she said something he could not recall, Barman suddenly hit her with the glass he had in his hand on her neck, the witness testified.
He said he saw a cut on her neck which was bleeding, but as he at first thought it was not very deep he asked her to sit down on a sofa nearby.
At that stage the deceased’s mother asked Barman why he stabbed the deceased and he “forcefully pushed her out of the way and she fell against the fence”, Hamaseb naratted.
“At that stage, I grabbed the accused from behind to restrain him as he was trying to get to the deceased’s mother,” Hamaseb further testified.
However, when Hamaseb’s girlfriend testified, she informed the court that when she and other people rushed to the side of the house after Barman’s sister informed them that Booysen was cut by Barman, she saw that Hamaseb and the deceased’s mother were blocking Barman and that Barman was not held by anyone.
In any case, Hamaseb testified that he took Barman to the front of the residence where he released him when he saw the deceased approaching.
“She was walking like someone with no energy with blood flowing freely from her throat and soaking her clothes,” he said.
When she was a few feet from Barman she took a brick and tried to throw it at him, but instead hit his car where he was standing.
The deceased then fell down and Barman came and looked at her, then turned around and got into his car and drove off, he said.
Before that, however, the witness said Barman wanted to go into the house to retrieve his car keys presumably, but the brother of the deceased, Charlton Swartz, stopped him and asked him what he did to his sister.
Without breaking his stride Barman then punched Swartz in the face with a fist causing him to bleed, the witness narrated.
From there, he called City Police who arrived after about 45 minutes while the ambulance arrived about 20 minutes after the incident and Booysen was taken to Katutura State Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.