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Death sentence for murder over stolen cement

FRANCISTOWN: A man who stole a bag of cement and a water container belonging to his employer, then killed him to cover up the crime, is now sitting on death row banking on his lawyer to get him off on appeal.

High Court judge, Bashi Moesi sentenced Mooketsi Kgosibodiba, also known as Batista, to death after failing to find extenuating factors in the February 2, 2012 murder of Benjamin Makobela. Morris Ndawana, the accused’s attorney told Mmegi immediately after the verdict, that he was already working on appeals against both the conviction and the sentence. When sentencing Kgosibodiba on Monday, Moesi noted that the convict’s arguments and defence did not ring true. Facts led in court and accepted as true are that Makobela’s decomposing body was discovered inside a hut at Shangano ward in Makobo, which he shared with Kgosibodiba.

The pathologist who examined the body observed that there were injuries as well as medium sized maggots on the body after it was brought to Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital for postmortem, said Moesi. The death was proven to have been caused by strangulation, with indications that the act was done to cause death or grievous bodily harm. “The pathologist formed the opinion that the death occurred about three to four days prior to his examination of the body,” said Moesi.

Kgosibodiba, meanwhile, was telling witnesses who saw him in possession of Makobela’s van that the deceased had gone to buy some cement and petrol in Francistown. Moesi said he found as fact that… the version of the accused that he dropped the deceased off alive at the hiking spot on February 3, 2012 at 5am is not merely improbable but also conflicts with the facts which are

not in dispute.

According to Moesi’s sentence, the relationship between the two men began deteriorating after Kgosibodiba stole the deceased’s cement and a water container that the deceased had borrowed from someone else.

“On February 1, 2012 a meeting took place at the Makobo home (that the two men shared). At the said meeting, the deceased levelled accusations of theft against the accused. One Modisaotsile Moruti was present and tried to mediate…The accused denied the theft which later led to a strained relationship between the two,” the judge said.

Moesi added: “I also find as a fact that there was strong self-preservation that the motive on the part of the accused which drove him to kill the deceased because of the latter’s refusal to pardon him for the theft of his property and his escalation of the investigation caused the accused to see the deceased as a threat that needed to be neutralised”.

Consequently, Moesi said, taking the cumulative effect of the above facts, he was satisfied that the accused is the person who murdered the deceased on February 1 and in 2012 which is consistent with all the above, proved facts.

“I accordingly draw inference that no other reasonable inference being capable of being drawn from such facts save the one I have drawn. I am further satisfied that the accused caused the death of the deceased with malice afterthought. I convict him of murder and find no extenuating circumstances in his favour,” said Moesi.




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