Two men from Bulawayo who were part of a three-man gang that attacked a security guard manning a city flea market and tied his hands, legs and neck using a wire coat hanger before strangling him to death using a jacket draw-string, were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mduduzi Mathema (30) of Makokoba suburb and Isaac Nyakurerwa (35) of Mbundane killed Vengai Murisi and stole his cellphone before fleeing with bags containing clothing items whose total worth is unknown.
Mathema and Nyakurerwa were convicted of murder with actual intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese.
In passing sentence, Justice Makonese said the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances with the two accused persons brutally killing the deceased in a callous manner.
“The deceased was brutally killed by the accused persons in furtherance of a crime of robbery. Under normal circumstances the two deserved capital punishment since the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances. However, this court notes that Mathema was affected by anti-social disorder at the time of commission of the offence,” he said.
The judge said the two accused persons deserve to be permanently removed from society.
“The accused persons must be permanently removed from society in order to make our society safer. For this heinous crime, the accused persons are accordingly sentenced to life imprisonment,” ruled Justice Makonese.
Prosecuting, Mr Whisper Mabaudhi said on February 10 in 2013 at about 7PM, Murisi reported for duty at Mutize and Son Flea Market situated along Lobengula Street between 8th Avenue Extension and Leopold Takawira Avenue.
During the course of the night, the two accused persons in the company of an accomplice still on the run, arrived at the flea market and found the deceased asleep.
The court heard that they attacked Murisi and secured his hands and legs using wire coat hangers before hitting the now deceased with a plank on the head and strangling him.
“They assaulted Murisi on the head with a plank and further strangled him using a jacket until he died. His body was discovered the following morning by Mr George Gwachari who called the police. Mathema and Nyakurerwa stole clothing items and fled from the scene,” said Mr Mabaudhi.
The two men were later arrested and it was discovered that they had sold some of the clothing items to people who live as far as Plumtree.
Police also recovered the deceased’s phone during indications. A post mortem report showed that Murisi had died due to strangulation.
In his defence through his lawyer, Mrs Nozipho Mathumbu of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, Mathema claimed that he had a long history of mental disorder such that he could not recall the events that led to Murisi’s death.
Doctors and psychiatrists who examined Mathema ruled out any form of mental illness and concluded that he had an anti-social disorder, which did not affect the functioning of his faculties.
Nyakurerwa, though his lawyer, Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners, said he was threatened and forced by the police to confess that he murdered the deceased.