Justice Moses Chinhengo last week sentenced Zimbabwean national, Gerald Dube, to death after he found him guilty of killing Francistown attorney, Patricia Majoko, also a Zimbabwean national.
After killing Majoko, Dube proceeded to kill Majoko’s two children, five-year-old Amotjilani and seven-year-old Dumisani, and their maid, Lindiwe Ncube, on September 13, 2001.
Dube was facing four counts of murder in a trailblazing trial that unraveled his association with Majoko from their origins in Bulawayo and an epic tale of brotherly love, irresponsibility and deception which culminated in a brutal murder at the otherwise tranquil suburb of Molapo Estates.
Justice Chinhengo summed up the sequence of events thus:
The accused, Dube, went to Majoko’s house at Molapo in the afternoon of September 13, 2001 at about 4:30 pm. He found Dumisani, Amotjilani and Lindiwe, the maid, at home. Lindiwe was at the kitchen counter cutting vegetables. Dube was armed with an iron rod that he had picked up in the yard and knocked Lindiwe on the head with the rod instantly knocking her unconscious.
He then proceeded to the sitting room where he rounded up the boys and hit them on the head with the iron rod. He then waylaid Majoko by the gate for a period of close to four hours. When she arrived at around 8:00 pm, he was waiting for her at the gate and, before she could alight from the van, he hit her on the head with the same iron rod, killing her instantly. He then locked the house and covered Majoko’s body before locking the gates and leaving with Majoko’s van. Dube then went to Majoko’s office where he used her key to enter and steal P170 and then abandoned the van at Shoprite Complex.
The bodies of the victims were found the following morning. All of them had been killed by fractures to the skull due to a blunt force wound to the head.
“Their deaths were due to bruising and oedema of the brain with fractures to the skull caused by a blunt force wound to the head,” said the Judge.
When making submissions defense counsel Ookeditse Maphakwane argued that the accused had not committed the murders out of malice aforethought. He submitted that the accused had a history of epileptic seizures and suffered from psych-motor epilepsy. Therefore, he said, the accused could not have acted with a conscious will when he killed the deceased as he had an epileptic seizure.
But, delivering judgment Justice Chinhengo said that evidence provided by Dr Phillip Opondo, who has 16 years in the field of psychiatry, points to the fact that the accused had no overall history of psychotic or other mental illness. Opondo also submitted that when he assessed the accused, he was taking anti depressant tablets called amitrayptline which are known to aggravate epilepsy.
”The fact that the accused was taking the drug and his condition did not worsen was an indication that he did not suffer from psych-motor epilepsy,” said the judge.
Justice Chinhengo said that the accused’s motives for killing are apparent from the sequence of events as they unfolded over the five days preceding the tragedy. He said that the accused was under a lot of strain from his demanding girlfriend which strain was worsened when he lost his job, accommodation and the privilege of using “Majoko’s car.” He must have been embarrassed that he no longer had the use of the motor vehicle.
“Patricia had brought Dube to Botswana and made him somebody so that he was able to entice women. The termination of his association with Patricia brought him acute embarrassment and was sufficient motive for him to attach her,” said Justice Chinhengo.
In conclusion the judge said that in the absence of any factors that may show that the accused was not responsible for his crimes he has to conclude that “the act was conscious and voluntary. He intended to kill them. He killed the deceased out of malice aforethought.”
“As a result he is guilty of the four counts as charged,” he said.