American murder case deferred to January 27



The case in which two American men stand accused of the murder of a Windhoek resident will proceed on January 27 in the High Court.

Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula recently presided over the case on behalf of Judge Christie Liebenberg and postponed the matter to the last week of January.

The accused are Marcus Thomas, 30, and fellow American, Kevan Donnell Townsend, 29. The two first were first brought before the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on January 14, 2011, but the matter was eventually referred to the High Court.

Townsend and Thomas stand accused of killing Andre Heckmair with a single gunshot to the back of the head on January 7, 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet, containing 100 Swiss Franc.

They allegedly imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit and possessed a 7.65mm pistol and ammunition without a licence. It is further alleged the accused removed a notebook from police custody – after the police seized it as an exhibit – and burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book.

They have pleaded not guilty on all counts, which are connected to the apparent assassination of 25-year-old Andre Peter Heckmair in 2011.

Heckmair was killed instantly when he was shot in the back of the head at a cul-de-sac in Klein Windhoek, where the two accused men had allegedly lured him to.

The court-ordered a neuro-psychiatric assessment of Thomas, who was previously diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, apparently caused by a fall he suffered during a failed escape attempt in November 2014.

A different panel of mental health experts than the one involved in the first period of psychiatric observation that Thomas went through in March and April last year must conduct the second inquiry into his mental state and a neuropsychiatrist – not in the full-time service of the State – should also be part of the team, Judge Liebenberg ordered last year.

The order was made after the State, represented by Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef, who requested the judge to direct that Thomas’ mental condition should be examined for a second time after his first period of psychiatric observation resulted in a finding that he was not fit to stand trial.

That finding was based on a State psychiatrist’s opinion that Thomas’ cognitive performance was impaired, of which memory problems were the main symptom, and that the probable cause of that was a suspected head injury suffered by the accused when he fell during his attempt to escape on November 3, 2014 from custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.


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