It was an occasion for tears of joy and tears of sadness when Judge Naomi Shivute delivered her judgment in a riveting murder trial in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.
Tears of joy for Jeanetta Katrina Julius, 48, who was acquitted of the murder of her estranged husband, Henry Thomas Julius in Keetmanshoop on the morning of March 5, 2008, but bitter tears of disappointment for her boyfriend, Kevin Adams, as Judge Shivute found that the State had proved his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
According to Judge Shivute, even though the whole case hinged on circumstantial evidence, DNA evidence found on the shorts of Adams was compelling and reliable and established a link between him and the deceased.
The only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that it was Adams that killed Julius, she found.
She further said the facts that were proven by the State, such as that Adams had a romantic relationship with the deceased’s wife and was seen earlier that night fighting with the deceased while he had a broken bottle in his hand, as well as the deceased’s blood on his shorts, left her with no doubt that he was involved in the commission of the murder.
In the absence of any reasonable defense, the killing was unlawful and wrongful, the judge said. She went on to say it now remained only to establish whether Adams had the intention to kill the deceased.
At the place where Julius was killed an Okapi knife was found, covered with the blood of the deceased; it was most likely the murder weapon, she noted.
According to the judge, the number of stab wounds – 21 in all – directed at vulnerable parts of the body, showed that Adams murdered the deceased with direct intent.
However, the judge said, apart from the fact that Jeanetta Julius was in a relationship with Adams and uttered words to the effect, “you will bury another woman’s husband”, as well as the fact that she was seen leaving with Adams in the company of the deceased, there is no evidence implicating her in the murder of her husband.
She found that the State did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Jeanetta Julius acted in common purpose with Adams in the killing of her husband and she must, therefore, be given the benefit of the doubt.
On the charge of defeating or obstructing, or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, the judge found that Adams (in hiding under a bed) is not guilty of the offence he is charged with – although his actions are consistent with a guilty mind. She said the State failed to prove the offence and acquitted him on the second count.
But this is where the tide turned for Jeanetta. The judge found that her actions clearly indicated she knew that Adams had committed an offence.
She said that Jeanetta’s actions of washing the bloodstained clothes of Adams and the fact that she locked him in the house clearly showed that she tried to interfere with police investigations to protect Adams from prosecution.
Judge Shivute cancelled the bail of both Adams and Jeanetta Julius yesterday and remanded them in custody for the rest of the trial. Sentencing proceedings were set down for October 14 and 15.
Adams is represented by Boris Isaacks and Julius by Mbanga Siyomunji, both on instruction from Legal Aid. The State is represented by Prosecutor Shakwa Nyambe.