The D court at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court was packed to capacity with family members of the victims and concerned members of the public, while members of the media scrambled to get photos when the accused appeared on Monday, in connection with the murder of two women, whose bodies were abandoned at a dumping site outside Windhoek.
The accused, Lukas Nicodemus appeared yesterday on two counts of murder, as well as a charge of obstructing the course of justice.
The remains of the murdered women, Clemencia de Wee, 23, and Johanny Naruses, 29, were found burned at a dump site in Windhoek last Thursday. They were positively identified by family members, Inspector Slogan Matheus from the Police Public Relations department said on Sunday.
Nicodemus’ legal rights were explained to him. He was informed by presiding Magistrate Ilge Rheent that he can appoint a private lawyer of his choice, or apply for a government-funded lawyer, who will be paid by the government. Depending on the accused’s financial status, he may be asked to contribute a certain amount.
Nicodemus was further informed that he is not compelled to obtain legal representation. But if he fails to obtain legal representation within a reasonable time frame due to his own fault, the court may order that the trial to proceed without legal representation.
The double murder accused was further advised to have a legal representative, as they are qualified to bring cases before court and to protect “your rights as best as they can,” Ilge continued. Nicodemus said he would apply for legal aid.
When asked how he intends to plea to the charge, Nicodemus replied: “Not guilty”.
He was denied bail and must remain in custody at Seeis near Hosea Kutako International Airport for the time being. New Era understands that he was sent there for his own safety. Nicodemus apparently fears for his life and allegedly pleaded not to be sent to the Windhoek police station.
Family members of the victims became very emotional when Nicodemus was brought into court yesterday and some could not hold back their tears. A member of the police blocked members of the public from coming too close to him, when he entered and exited the court and members of the public were also searched for weapons when they entered the court.
The double murder came to light when a security guard at the dumping site in the vicinity of Pionierspark came across the smouldering remains of two people at around 06h30 on Thursday morning.
Matheus said it is believed that not more than one person was involved in the murders.
A black Golf GTI belonging to the suspect that reportedly had bloodstains in it was impounded after it was found abandoned at an undisclosed location in the capital. “It is suspected that the vehicle was the mode of transport used in the commission of the crime,” Matheus said.
The relationship between the suspect and the two deceased have not yet been established. However, it is suspected that the two women were in the Nicodemus’s company before the incident occurred. It is understood that the police retrieved a SIM card from the crime scene, which – upon further investigation – led them to Nicodemus.
Another person of interest was brought in for questioning on Friday, but was released later that day. The matter will proceed on March 9. Ivann Tjizu represented the State.