The man accused of having murdered his live-in lover under the Simon De Witt Bridge in Windhoek North in March 2012 told Judge Dinah Usiku on Tuesday that he stabbed her with the intention to kill.
Willem ‘Keffs’ Titus, 47, made the admission in a plea explanation read to the court by his State-funded lawyer Hipura Ujaha. Ujaha replaced Christian Nambahu, who withdrew from the murder case, as he was apparently not comfortable with the instructions he received from his client.
Nambahu was representing Keffs, who wanted to plead guilty to the murder of his common-law wife near the Simon De Wit Bridge on March 1, 2012. His withdrawal was, however, not without drama as Nambahu was summoned to court to explain his failure to re-appear in court following an adjournment.
After Nambahu read out the plea explanation on Monday, in which Keffs admitted that he had stabbed Antoinette April several times with a knife after an argument over money. He denied that he had robbed the deceased, as alleged in a second charge he faces.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi informed the court that the Office of the Prosecutor General would not accept the plea, as it implies indirect murder, because they want a conviction of murder with direct intent.
Nambahu then asked for a postponement to consult his client on a possible amended plea and Judge Usiku granted the postponement. But, to everyone’s astonishment – including the accused – when court proceedings were due to resume after Nambahu was nowhere to be seen.
Instead Hipura Ujaha turned up and informed the court that he was appointed by the Legal Aid directorate to represent Keffs. Advocate Lutibezi was clearly not happy with the turn of events and told the judge that it was “unacceptable behaviour by a professional like Nambahu” and he must be summoned to explain in person why he withdrew.
The judge agreed and postponed the matter for Nambahu to explain. On Tuesday morning Nambahu apologised profusely to the judge, who was evidently not impressed and told him he has not heard the last of it.
Keffs pleaded guilty to murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, but not guilty to robbery with aggravating circumstance, also under the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.
In his plea explanation he told the court he and the deceased were walking from her house in Otjomuise to their places of work and were arguing all the way about secretive phone calls she received from a boyfriend and his money that she apparently used without his consent.
When they reached Simon De Witt Bridge he decided to part from her, but she grabbed him by his arm and slapped him on his left cheek.
“I just turned around and faced her and started to stab her several times on her upper body and chest with a knife that I was having in my backpack. I cannot remember how many times I stabbed, but will agree with eight times, as alleged in the indictment by the State,” he confessed.
Keffs admitted that he did not act in self-defense when he stabbed the deceased, as he opened the bag and took out the knife before stabbing her.
“I admit I wrongfully and unlawfully and with direct intent to kill, stabbed the deceased with a knife, knowing that she would die as a result of such stabbings,” Keffs stated.
He further said he is sorry for his conduct. He tendered the guilty plea as a token of his remorse and asked for mercy from the court. He further submitted as a mitigating factor that he did not waste the court’s time.
Lutibezi accepted the guilty plea and Judge Usiku convicted him accordingly. Keffs remains in custody.