The High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, was packed with Theologo’s family and those of her alleged murderers.
Linden Wagner testified during the trial that he hit Theologo on the head with a rock several times, doused her with petrol and set her alight on a hill in Linmeyer, Johannesburg, in October 2011. She died of her injuries a week later in hospital.
Wagner told the court he also attacked her 14-year-old friend, who suffered burns to parts of her body, but survived. He said this was part of a soul-selling ritual, from which he had hoped to gain power.
Judge Geraldine Borchers heard that the ritual was based on a Biblical passage which spoke of raising the beast.
Wagner, Courtney Daniels, Robin Harwood and Harvey Isha listened attentively as Borchers started delivering her verdict on Thursday.
Theologo’s mother rested against the shoulder of another relative while she listened to proceedings.
Lester Moody and Jeremy King turned State witnesses, confessed to the killing, and were sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment, five of which were suspended. Borchers said while she accepted their testimony, she had borne in mind that they could have given evidence which would swing in their favour.
She said while Wagner had confessed to his actions in the ritual, Moody had come across the Bible verse that triggered the ritual. Moody believed he would rule the world after selling his soul.