The trial of 29-year-old David Mashao, which recently concluded in the High Court in Johannesburg, has resulted in the man being sentenced to two life terms.
Mashao decapitated both his brother and sister with a kitchen knife in separate incidents in Roodepoort.
In August 2018, Mashao was arrested after his uncle Miguel found his sister, Barbara, decapitated, with her head in her hands, cradled in her own lifeless arms, at their home in Roodepoort.
Investigations led to two witnesses alleging that Mashao had confessed to killing his brother in a similar fashion in 2012.
His brother Sechaba was found next to a railway line between Georgina and Krugersdorp in early December 2012. Initial speculation that Sechaba died after being hit by a train was rejected by officials, who confirmed that no one was hit by a train that day.
Mashao later admitted that the horrific killings were committed as an act of sacrifice to Satan.
Sunday Times reports that the murders took place because Mashao was trying to convince his siblings, who both attended a local Jehovah’s Witnesses church, to join his satanic church. Upon their refusal, he decapitated both of them.
Video courtesy of Sunday Times:
Mashao was facing two murder charges as well as a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances. He was expected to plead guilty on October 21, but the hearing was postponed to the following day, when he announced that he wished to change his plea. Mashao was advised by his counsel to stick with his guilty plea but the matter was again postponed, this time to October 24, after the accused was struck down with an acute spate of stomach cramps.
Senior state advocate Deon Van Wyk, prosecuting counsel in the case, confirmed: “Should the accused decide not to plead guilty, the state will lead evidence on two confessions and will allege that the motive for the murders was that of a satanic sacrifice.”
The accused returned to the high court on October 24, and pleaded guilty to both counts of murder.
Van Wyk said: “The court agreed with the state that there are no compelling and substantial circumstances to allow for a lesser sentence prescribed by section 51(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997, and imposed life imprisonment on each count. Therefore the accused was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment.”
Mashao’s lawyer tried to convince Judge Frans van der Westhuizen that Mashao was “possessed” when the murders were committed, and that he no longer practises Satanism.
Mashao testified that he had indeed decapitated his siblings in order to satisfy his satanic beliefs.
His father Ruby still lives in the house where one of his children was beheaded, and told the Sunday Times that he was still devastated, despite the damning sentence.
David’s swastikas and Illuminati symbols have since been painted over.
In August last year, a neighbour who wished to remain anonymous told the Roodepoort Record that the Mashaos were “a very decent family who always greeted and chatted to us”.
The neighbour speculated that the murder of Barbara might have been occult-related since the victim’s brother “was into that kind of thing”.