Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Court of Appeal endorses death penalty on triple murder convict

A Borolong man convicted of killing his girlfriend, toddler and step daughter, has been condemned to the gallows once again, with the Court of Appeal judges referring to the incident as “a bloody, triple murder of the highest degree”.

Angered by his girlfriend who no longer was interested in him, 21-year-old Gotlhalosamang Gabaokelwe killed Keneilwe Ndolo, their eight-month-old child and three-year-old Ogomoditse, a step daughter, with an iron rod, inflicting deep fractures on their skulls, causing instant death.

Gabaokelwe appeared before a three-judge panel of Justices Ian Kirby, Seth Twum and Elijah Legwaila on Friday.

“The murder of Ogomoditse, who was Keneilwe’s three year old daughter, falls into an entirely different category. In her case, there is no question of any accident. The appellant stated in his confession that “I hit the other child with the same iron rod for I thought she was going to remain a destitute,” revealed the judges, saying such was a clear statement of deliberate intention to kill.

“The expressed motive bore no relation to any provocation he had suffered. It was a cruel and brutal act perpetrated on an innocent and defenceless child who would have expected love and protection from the father of her baby step-sister,” they noted.

At her very tender age, Ogomoditse was to witness the brutal killing of her mother and her younger sister who was strapped on to the back of her mother on the fateful evening of 17th May 2008.
While the judges admitted there existed extenuating circumstances over the killing of Keneilwe and her small child and as such endorsing custodial sentence, they would dispute such scenario exists over Ogomoditse’s case as posited by his defence lawyer, Duma Boko, condemning Gabaokelwe to the death row.

“I have no doubt that the finding of no extenuating circumstances was correct in the present case. This was a horrific and deliberate killing of an innocent three-year-old and it was the ultimate act in a bloody triple murder. The sentence imposed was, in the circumstances, the only one permissible by law.” They endorsed and confirmed the sentence as earlier handed over by the lower court.

Presiding over the case, high court judge Tshepho Motswagole on 17th August 2010 slapped Gabaokelwe with a death sentence over the killing of Kaone and Ogomoditse, while he meted out a 15-year jail term for the killing of Keneilwe. The High Court judges, however, found extenuating circumstances in the killing of Kaone, reversing the sentence to a custodial sentence of yet another 15 years which would run concurrently with one imposed for the murder of the mother.

They, however, upheld the death sentence imposed for the murder of Ogomoditse.

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.