Psychologist Rosalind Macnab believes that the youngest accused in the high profile “Krugersdorp Killers” case, 21-year-old Marcel Steyn, can be rehabilitated and integrated back into society following her sentence.
“Marcel never lived a normal life. She was manipulated, brainwashed into believing that the group [Electus Per Deus] was God’s way. She believed if she did not follow their way she would die, something she is still fearing.
“Marcel can be rehabilitated and integrated back into society following her prison sentence, through drug and councelling intervention,” Macnab told the court during pre-sentencing.
The psychologist with 19 years of experience was delivering a psychosocial report on the third accused in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Marcel and her co-accused Zak Valentine and Cecilia Steyn were found guilty of 32 counts between them – including murder, fraud, racketeering and robbery formed part of a group dubbed Electus Per Deus (Chosen by God) between 2012 and 2016, which committed 11 murders in the Krugersdorp area between 2012 and 2016.
Marcel’s mother, former school teacher Marinda Steyn, is currently serving 11 life terms and 115 years in prison, while Marcel’s brother, Le Roux Steyn, who was also part of the group, entered into a plea bargain with the State and was sentenced to 35 years for seven murders. Ten years of his sentence was suspended on condition that he testify at the trial.
Another member of the group, John Barnard, who also testified during the trial, is currently serving 20 years, News24 earlier reported.
Marcel was convicted on eight counts of murder in June 2019. Two of these were committed while she was a minor and six others while she was an adult.
Macnab told the court that, while Marcel was incredibly intelligent, she did have low emotional intelligence (EQ), which explained why she was “easily manipulated” into committing these crimes.
Macnab further submitted that being a part of what she called a “cult group” had developed a fear in Marcel that outweighed her sense of right and wrong.
“It was about survival. Marcel was unable to develop her own ideology or develop with any moral integrity due to [being a part of] this cult from an early age.
“Although she has a high IQ, her low emotional intelligence (EQ) made her easier to manipulate. Her beliefs were molded and shaped to corroborate that of the cult [Electus per Deus],” she added.
When Judge Jacob Francis asked Macnab what sentence would be appropriate for the accused, she declined to entertain the question.
“She should be held accountable for her participation, but her role pales in comparison to that of her mother or Cecilia.
“As a psychologist, I do not have the scope for the legal question, but I do believe that she has the intelligence to entertain the therapeutic processes recommended,” she submitted.
The matter continues.