GOBABIS: The case in which Joel Petrus is accused of hacking his live-in girlfriend to death with a panga, was on Monday postponed to 02 November 2012 for further investigation.Petrus, a resident of Gobabis’s Single Quarters, has been charged with one count of murder after Maria Erastus’s lifeless body was discovered in a pool of blood by a neighbour the morning after the murder, over a month ago.
A guilty plea entered by the accused was dismissed as inadmissible by Gobabis Magistrate Johan Pienaar, mainly due to conflicting reasons given by the accused on why he committed the crime.
The accused described in horrid details how he killed his girlfriend by hacking her several times on her body after a quarrel broke out between them.
He told Magistrate Pienaar that after a protracted argument with his girlfriend, he drew a panga and struck Erastus once on the neck, and twice in the face.He then locked her up in the room and left her for dead.
When asked by the Magistrate if he had intended to kill by his acts, Petrus said he acted under the influence of alcohol and had no intention of ending the life of his girlfriend.“I knew that I have injured her through my acts, but did not know that she was dead when I locked her up in the room,” he told the court.
A preliminary plea of guilt was instead entered by the court in the matter, before it was postponed for trial and to allow the police to conduct further investigations. The murder had sparked a wave of range amongst community members, and the case attracted huge public interest.
A group of residents marched to the town’s Magistrate’s Court on the aftermath of the killing, where they, in a petition, pleaded for stiffer punishment against offenders. The State was represented by Lourens Pretorius, while the accused conducted his own defence.