TWO men who pepper-sprayed an army Captain who had offered them a lift, before stabbing him with an Okapi knife to death and stashing his body in the car which they drove for about 40 kilometres with the blood-dripping corpse, have been sentenced to death.
Masvingo High Court Judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze on Friday sentenced the two robbers to death after finding them guilty of robbing and fatally stabbing the army officer in 2017. Admire Maorere (28) of Maorere Village under Chief Ndanga, Windas Munzweru (27) of Nematombo Village under Chief Chadyamatombo in Karoi and an alleged accomplice, Nyasha Sango who is still at large stabbed then Captain Phio Jeketera (51) of Harare with an Okapi knife, several times all over the body leading to his death.
The robbers put the body into the vehicle’s loading box before driving off to Masvingo where they dumped the car near the craft centre along Masvingo-Beitbridge Road. Delivering sentence, Justice Mawadze, sitting with assessors Messers Samuel Mutomba and Joseph Mushuku said the action of the two who were already serving 24 months each on previous convictions of armed robbery, was premeditated and they acted in common purpose to callously kill the deceased who had offered them a lift, as genuine commuters.
“In my eight years on the bench, I have not passed a death sentence on any offender and it has not been easy to pass an appropriate verdict on this matter. There is no way the two accused can escape the hangman’s noose given the circumstances they committed this crime and they acted in common purpose to deprive an innocent army officer’s life,” said Justice Mawadze.
He said according to Section 47(2) of the constitution, a law may permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances.
The two men who were represented pro-deo by Mr Joseph Chipangula of Tshuma, Gurajena and Partners Legal Practitioners, pleaded with the court for lenience saying that they have young families that looked up to them for survival.
Prosecutor Mr Tawanda Chikwati said in May, 2017 and along Roy-Gutu Road, the two, together with Sango who fled the scene and is still at large, killed Jeketera by stabbing him with a knife. Jeketera was travelling from Harare to his rural home in Zaka when the incident happened.
“On the 19th May 2017 and at the seven kilometre peg along the same road, Maovere and Munzweru stabbed several times an army Captain, Jeketera who had given them a lift from Gutu,” said Mr Chikwati.
He said upon arrival at Gutu turn-off at about 11pm, the trio asked Jeketera to drop them off under the guise that Sango wanted to see her aunt whose homestead was nearby. The court heard when the vehicle was stopped, Sango whose age was not given in court, produced an Okapi knife and demanded money from Cpt Jeketera, threatening to harm him. Jeketera is said to have resisted and grabbed Sango’s hand that was holding the knife and a scuffle ensued.
When the two who had disembarked from the car realised that Jeketera was resisting, they joined in and overpowered him. The two including Sango dragged Jeketera to the side of the road, pepper sprayed him, apparently to force him into submission before stabbing him several times all over the body until he became unconscious.
The robbers then took away his Gtel cellphone and cash amounting to $540 after which they put the body at the back of his vehicle.
They drove the car towards Masvingo City where they dumped the vehicle by the road side, just a kilometre from the city centre.
The following day, the court heard, the body of the deceased which had one left shoe on it was discovered in his dumped car by police officers who were manning a road block. They also recovered a blood stained Okapi knife and a pepper spray.
The body was taken to Masvingo General Hospital where a post-mortem done by Dr Godfrey Zimbwa revealed that he had died of haemorrhage shock as a result of stab wounds. The body had deep stab wounds on the left buttock, two on the head and one on the throat.
The two, minus Sango who fled the scene when police pounced at their hideout in the mountain, were arrested by police detectives through the deceased’s cellphone that Sango had sold to a cellphone vendor in Masvingo town. Further investigations also revealed that one of Cpt Jeketera’s shoes was dropped at the scene of the crime and was discovered. A pool of blood was also seen at the scene, suggesting that the deceased had bled profusely, leading to his death.