Five Murder Suspects Deny Killing Professional Hunter - Namibia

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  1. FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Oct 1, 2007
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    Five Murder Suspects Deny Killing Professional Hunter - Namibia
    by Werner Menges

    THE main suspect was absent from the dock when the trial of five men accused of having been involved in the fatal shooting of professional hunter Daantjie van Vuuren in the Outjo area in December 2006 got going in the High Court in Windhoek last week.

    The man accused of firing the shot that killed Van Vuuren in the early morning hours of December 7 2006, Immanuel Isako, was not in court and will not be present either during the trial of his co-accused before Judge Louis Muller. That is because Isako died at the age of 35 on May 21 - four months before the start of his trial and after he had spent a year and a half in Police custody.

    The trial of Isako's co-accused - Willem Peter (38), Gert Nuxabeb (25), Jafet Nuxabeb (21), John Khamuxab (20) and Johannes Heiki (67) - has started before Judge Muller with all of them pleading not guilty to eight charges.

    The five men face counts of murder, stock theft, theft, theft of a motor vehicle, defeating the course of justice, altering, mutilating or cancelling a registered livestock brand, possession of a firearm without a licence and illegal possession of ammunition.

    It is alleged that during the night of December 6 to 7 2006 Isako, Peter, the two Nuxabebs and Khamuxab were driving on the main road between Outjo and Kamanjab when Isako shot a heifer on a farm next to the road. Peter was allegedly driving Isako's bakkie.

    After the animal had been shot, the two Nuxabebs and Khamuxab helped Isako load it ont™o the bakkie, it is charged. The party drove off with the stolen heifer, but then Isako's bakkie broke down.

    Van Vuuren found them next to the road, it is alleged. A quarrel broke out between him and Isako about what was on the back of the bakkie, and Isako then shot Van Vuuren with a .308 hunting rifle, it is charged in the indictment against the five remaining accused.

    After Van Vuuren had been shot, he was dragged from the road into the grass next to the road and was left there. Isako got into Van Vuuren's car and drove off with it, later returning to the scene where his car stood to help his co-accused to get it started, it is alleged.

    He then drove off with Van Vuuren's bakkie again, abandoning the vehicle when it ran out of fuel. Isako stole a .223 rifle, ammunition and compact discs from the bakkie when he abandoned it, the prosecution is also charging.

    Isako and the rest of the party drove to farm Elandsputz between Outjo and Kamanjab, where he lived, and slaughtered the stolen heifer there, it is alleged.

    Heiki then entered the picture when he allegedly helped them hide the alleged murder weapon and the items stolen from Van Vuuren in the veld.

    Outjo medical doctor Gerhard Burger testified on Friday that Van Vuuren (43) died as a result of a gunshot wound through his pelvis.

    Van Vuuren could have lived for ten to at the most twenty minutes after being shot, Dr Burger said.

    He told the Judge that he also found several other injuries on Van Vuuren's body. These included lacerations on Van Vuuren's head and several abrasion wounds around his left elbow, on the inside of his left wrist and on his right shin.

    Also on Friday, farmer Günther Heimstädt testified that Van Vuuren had been employed by him for three years as a professional hunter. Heimstädt said when he last saw Van Vuuren on the evening before his death, Van Vuuren was in a fine physical condition and had no wounds on him.

    Van Vuuren left Heimstädt's farm, Holstein, which is situated next to farm Elandsputz between Outjo and Kamanjab, around midnight because he wanted to fetch a firearm, which was supposed to be used in a planned elephant hunt the next day, the court was told.

    Peter, Khamuxab and the two Nuxabebs are admitting that they were present at the scene of the shooting, it has emerged from instructions that their defence lawyer, Boris Isaacks, has been putting to witnesses so far.

    According to Isaacks his instructions are that Isako shot Van Vuuren on the tar road. Van Vuuren fell to his knees on the road when he was shot, and Isako then dragged him away from the road, Isaacks said his instructions were.

    The trial continues today.

  2. AHS

    AHS AH Enthusiast

    Mar 29, 2008
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    On a personal note, I hope that justice will be served and that these men will be punished to the fullest extent of the law and then some... "Danny" was a fine man, he worked for us as a free lance PH on a few occasions and he was well liked and a good PH. What a very tragic and sad loss of life.
  3. FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Oct 1, 2007
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    Five Found Not Guilty of Hunter's Murder

    Five Found Not Guilty of Hunter's Murder

    The five men who have been on trial in the High Court in Windhoek for the past two months on charges flowing from the gunshot killing of an Outjo area professional hunter in December 2006 were all acquitted on a charge of murder yesterday.

    The oldest of the five charged men, Johannes Heikki (67), was found not guilty on all seven of the charges he had been facing in the trial before Judge Louis Muller.

    Judge Muller convicted the other four men - Outjo residents Willem Peter (38), Gert Nuxabeb (25) and his brother, Jafet Nuxabeb (21), and John Khamuxab (20) - on a charge of stock theft, but acquitted them on the five other charges they had been facing.

    The five suspects and a co-accused who died in May this year, Immanuel Isako, were arrested on December 8 2006. That was a day after the body of Daniel Jansen van Vuuren (43), a professional hunter who was employed at a farm west of Outjo, had been found lying in the grass next to the main road between Outjo and Kamanjab.

    Van Vuuren had died after he was shot through his pelvis.

    All of the five suspects who went on trial before Judge Muller after Isako's death pleaded not guilty to all charges against them in mid-September this year.

    During the trial, the Judge heard that on the evening of December 6 2006 Isako, Peter, the Nuxabeb brothers and Khamuxab drove out of Outjo with a bakkie that belonged to Isako.

    Isako eventually shot a cow that was standing near the fence of a farm next to the road. The other four suspects who were with him then helped him to load the poached animal onto his bakkie, and they drove off.

    They did not get very far before Van Vuuren, who was on his way to a nearby farm where his parents lived and apparently knew Isako, encountered Isako's bakkie and stopped them.

    The court heard that Isako told Van Vuuren that he had a kudu on the back of his bakkie. After Van Vuuren had a look on the back of the bakkie, and saw that in fact a cow and not a kudu was on the vehicle, he was walking back to his own bakkie when Isako shot him without warning.

    Van Vuuren fell to his knees on the road and asked Isako why he had shot him, the court heard.

    Isako then took aim and tried to shoot Van Vuuren for a second time, but the shot did not go off. Van Vuuren was then dragged off the road by Isako and left lying in the grass next to the road.

    Isako got into Van Vuuren's bakkie and drove away from the scene, while Peter drove Isako's bakkie up to a spot where Isako abandoned Van Vuuren's bakkie next to the road.

    Isako removed Van Vuuren's rifle and other goods from his bakkie when he abandoned the vehicle.

    The five men then drove to a farm near Outjo where Isako was farming. The poached cow was slaughtered there, and Isako also burned his own livestock brand over the mark that had been on the animal before, the court heard.

    At the farm, where Heikki also lived, Isako gave the murder weapon and Van Vuuren's rifle to Isako, who was employed by him at that stage. Isako instructed Heikki to hide the two firearms, which Heikki then also did.

    In the verdict given yesterday, Judge Muller said he accepted that Peter, Khamuxab and the Nuxabeb brothers did not expect that Isako would shoot Van Vuuren without any provocation. He said he also accepted that they were shocked and confused by the sudden and unexpected turn of events when Isako shot Van Vuuren.

    Judge Muller did not accept the four men's claims that they were not aware that they were going on a poaching excursion with Isako.

    He however accepted that it had not been proven that they were involved in murdering Van Vuuren, or that Khamuxab and Jafet Nuxabeb had helped Isako carry Van Vuuren off the road and also took part in a further assault on the mortally injured man next to the road.

    Their silence after the killing and failure to report the events to anyone after Isako had taken them back to Outjo could be explained by the fact that they knew they had been involved in stock theft and hoped that by remaining silent they would evade being caught on that charge, Judge Muller commented.

    He also found that the State did not prove that Heikki, who had been at Isako's farm while the murder and poaching were being committed elsewhere, knew about those events when he carried out Isako's instructions to hide the firearms.

    The five accused had all been charged with counts of murder, stock theft, theft of the items that were taken from Van Vuuren's bakkie, defeating the course of justice, and changing a registered livestock brand. Heikki alone was also charged the possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence, while the other four accused were further charged with the theft of a motor vehicle.

    The four accused who were convicted on the stock theft charge are set to return to court today for the hearing of evidence and arguments before they are sentenced.

    They have remained in custody since their arrest. Heikki had been free on bail.

    State advocate Lourens Campher is prosecuting. Heikki was represented by Lucia Hamutenya, while Boris Isaacks is representing the other four accused.

    Source: Namibian

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