American murder accused asks for judge’s recusal

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Maria Amakali
Windhoek

One of the two American nationals who stand accused of the murder of a young Windhoek resident in 2011 has asked for the recusal of High Court judge Christie Liebenberg from the case.

Marcus Kevin Thomas, 31, made the request though his defence attorney Kadhila Amoomo following the court ruling in August 2016 that Thomas was mentally fit to stand trial.

The judge arrived at the conclusion that Thomas was fit to stand trial after a Windhoek-based psychiatrist Reinhardt Sieberhagen and University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tuviah Zabow both concluded that Thomas was not suffering from any mental defect.

Thomas, who attempted to escape from the Windhoek Correctional Facility but failed, stated that he wants another judge to be appointed to his case as he still claims that he suffers from neurocognitive disorder, a mental defect, and he would not be able to understand court proceedings.

Judge Liebenberg informed the accused through his lawyer that an affidavit against him should be filed no later than May 15.

Thomas and his co-accused, the 30-year-old Kevan Donell Townsend, who is being represented by Mbanga Siyomunji, are charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, importation of a firearm without a permit, possession of a firearm without a licence, possession of ammunition and defeating or obstruction of justice in connection with the murder of Andre Peter Heckmair, aged 25, on January 7, 2011.

According to the prosecution the two travelled all the way from the United States of America to Namibia to execute their plan of killing Heckmair.
The two arrived in Namibia in December 2010, bought a 9mm pistol and lured Heckmair to meet them in January 2011.

Heckmair was found dead in his car with a bullet in his head in a street in Klein Windhoek. The two allegedly robbed him of his cellular phone and wallet containing at least 100 Swiss Franc (N$1 307.63). The duo were arrested at a local guest house in January 2011 and have been in custody since.

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