The Court of Appeal (CoA) has confirmed and upheld a decision of the High Court, that double-murder convict Joseph Tselayarona, must hang by the neck to death.
The Gaborone High Court convicted Tselayarona of Molepolole for the murder of his lover, Ngwanyanaotsile Keikanne and her three-year-old son, Miguel Keikanne in 2010.
It is said that he murdered his girlfriend in cold blood by stabbing her with a trimmer and a screwdriver in front of her son, while she begged her not to kill her. Then he killed her son in the morning by suffocating him with a pillow.
The trial court had found that extenuating circumstances existed in respect of the murder of the girlfriend, but not in respect of the son.
In his confession statement, which was admitted as evidence in court, Tselayarona stated he also tried to commit suicide with a screwdriver and by cutting his neck veins with a glass. He said he stayed in the house for two days with the corpses, but left the house to visit his friends at Newtown, before the Police arrested him on the fifth day.
He was sentenced to serve 20 years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend and given a death penalty for the son. The convict filed notice to appeal both the conviction and sentence on both counts on March 17, 2017. He argued that the trial court erred in convicting him on the basis of the confession statement, which was not voluntarily done by the accused. He also said the court erred in convicting him by disregarding his anti social disorder personality and that he used dagga.
Tselayarona through his attorney, Kesegofetse Molosiwa prayed for a retrial.
However, this week the CoA bench of Justices Singh Walia, Isaac Lesetedi and Zibani Makhwade dismissed his appeal and
Justice Walia, who prepared and handed the judgement, said in the circumstances of the case and crime committed, the sentence of 20 years for the murder of his lover and death sentence were not excessive, but appropriate.
He said the trial court cannot be faulted in respect of both conviction and sentence, but there were extenuating circumstances in the murder of the boy.
“The finding of absence of extenuation is properly made and I might add, if debate had risen, then the aggravating circumstances would have counterbalanced the extenuating circumstances by some considerable margin,” he said.
Walia said the importance of the confession statement by the convict could not be ignored, as it was the bedrock of the case. In the confession statement recorded on November 2010, Tselayarona admitted to killing the deceased persons.
He said, the confession statement was admitted as evidence without objection. He said the evidence weighed heavily against the innocence of the accused. He said the accused murdered the deceased out of jealousy resulting from his suspicion that she was unfaithful to him, which brought emotional distress.
However, he said, his mental state at the time could not be blamed. He said a psychiatric at Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital Dr Sreenkanth Davu said although the convict suffered from anti social disorder, his clinical history does not suggest that at the time he committed the offence, he was suffering from any psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.Walia said, in his view, the anti-social personality disorder does not, of itself, provide extenuation.