De Jager murder judgment postponed

Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

Judgment against double murder-accused Johannes Christiaan de Jager was postponed by the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Romay van Rooyen said she received supplementary heads of argument from De Jager’s lawyer and had answered them on Monday night.

Judge Chuma Cossie postponed until April 29 to allow more time for deliberation.

De Jager, 49, had pleaded not guilty to killing 16-year-old Mpumalanga resident Charmaine Mare in January last year, and not guilty to raping and killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008.

He previously testified that Mare died in an accidental fatal fall, saying he dismembered her body and set her torso alight in a panicked and shocked state.

He pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to dismemberment and a lesser charge of theft of Mare’s phone, rather than robbery.

His lawyer Sakkie Maartens said in closing argument that De Jager was guilty of common assault on his own version of forcefully grabbing Mare before she fell.

Maartens asked the court not to find De Jager guilty of murder simply because of the callousness he displayed when testifying on how he dismembered Mare.

On the stand, De Jager had said removing her limbs while under the influence “was the same as slaughtering a goat in the veld”.

On Tuesday morning, De Jager stared from under heavy brows at a horde of photographers around him.

He did not smile and held his hands in front of him.

Behind him sat Mare’s mom Katrina and her best friend Nikita Small. Katrina was visibly emotional and clutched a rolled-up tissue in her hand.

Both had taken their first flight on Tuesday to witness judgment being handed down.

Small said outside court that she was upset by the postponement.

“It’s making me angry now. Why do they keep on postponing and postponing? Why don’t they just take the keys, lock him up and throw away the key?” she said.

Katrina said she wanted the death penalty for De Jager.

“They must put him away because my daughter was my pride,” she said.

– Sapa




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