KEETMANSHOOP: The Keetmanshoop Regional Court on Monday sentenced a 37-year-old man to 18 years behind bars for murdering a younger man with a knife over a cigarette.
Two years of the sentence were suspended, and Joel Bethuel Dausab, who conducted his own defence, will have to serve an effective 16 years.
The court heard that Dausab, a resident of Keetmanshoop, stabbed the 21-year-old Manfred Klippert in the neck several times on the night of 28 April 2008 in a fight over a cigarette which Dausab had asked for from the deceased and his three friends.
The incident happened at the Sport Bar in Keetmanshoop’s Tseiblaagte, where Dausab allegedly started a fight after Klippert refused to share the cigarette.
The deceased bled to death on the spot.
Delivering the verdict, Magistrate Sunsley Zisengwe said Dausab’s actions were unprovoked, saying he killed Klippert for his own cigarette, thus the court decided to give him a sentence to protect the interest of society, amongst other reasons.
Dausab’s family members burst into tears during the trial on Friday.
In mitigation, Dausab told the court on Monday that he apologised to the deceased’s family and has shown remorse.
He then requested the court to give him a suspended sentence or the option of a fine.
State prosecutor Veiko Alexander stated that it seems the accused does not understand the seriousness of the crime as he asked for a suspended sentence or a fine.
“This court is overloaded with murder cases resulting from senseless killings, mostly from young people. Imagine, someone is killed for something of small value such as a cigarette. If you take someone’s life you cannot buy them a new life, or buy their family a new person,” the State submitted.
Alexander suggested that a sentence of 17 to 19 years without a fine will be appropriate, for the reason that it will deter offenders and possible offenders from taking people’s lives.
“By giving a suspended sentence or a fine to the accused, this court will not do justice to protecting the interest of society,” Alexander said.