Sunday, October 17, 2021

Odds stacked against Mogotsi … two murders may see him ‘swing’

On July 5, Ben Lemme, father to the now deceased 21-year-old Maria Lesolebe reported his daughter missing at Tlokweng Police Station.

As it is mostly the case, the first suspect was her boyfriend, 34-year-old Kedibetse Mogotsi who is now the only accused in Lesolebe’s murder case.

It would later turn out that Mogotsi indeed murdered his girlfriend and buried her in a shallow grave inside the house next to the one they both stayed in at Moshibidu Ward in Tlokweng.

Two bail application hearings later conducted by Magistrate Ntobizodwa Ncube at Extension 2 Magistrate Court, it is still too early to say whether or not court will grant Mogotsi bail. The first bail application hearing was on July 20, and the next one was heard on Thursday at Extension 2 Magistrate Court.

One thing which Case Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Tlotlang Balatlhwa says is likely to be the outcome is either a very lengthy prison sentence or the death penalty.

“It is a serious offence that can attract the death penalty or a very long time in prison. We have requested that the court balance the interest of the state with that of the public and not grant the accused bail,” said Balatlhwa. He said when Mogotsi committed the hideous crime on Lesolebe he was on bail from a previous murder charge pending trial.

Mogotsi, according Balatlhwa, was nowhere to be found until the police located him on the July 11, at Go Kadisa village in the Southern District. “When the police located him he fled, although he eluded them they did not give up the search. On July 16 we received a tip-off that the accused was seen in Lerolwane Village not too far from Kanye. Detective Rapelang Gaolekwe then set off with two other police officers on July 17 in search for the fugitive until they managed to arrest him at the nearby Banayana Farm at 4am in a shebeen,” said Balatlhwa.

Mogotsi was then transported back to Gaborone by Gaolekwe for an interview. “During the interview Mogotsi confessed to killing his girlfriend after which he dug a grave and buried her on July 2.  Mogotsi told us that his girlfriend didn’t spend the previous night with him, that they met at their house at 11am. Mogotsi confessed to strangling his girlfriend to death during a heated argument that they had,” said Gaolekwe.

He said the accused also told them during the interview that he then waited until it got dark before he buried his girlfriend in the grave that he had prepared prior to her arrival. “He said he then covered the grave with concrete and fled to where we finally arrested him,” Gaolekwe said.

Gaolekwe said arresting Mogotsi at Banyana Farm was no walk in the park and that is only part of the reason he should be remanded in custody. “At Banyana Farm the accused took out a knife and attempted to stab us until I fired a warning shot in the air.

He has a pending case of murder which he committed in 2012. During that case Mogotsi was remanded in custody until he was committed to high court on April 2, 2014. He was granted bail pending trial by Justice Ranowane on June 13, 2014 but he failed to comply with conditions of bail,” he lamented.

The conditions of bail, according to Gaolekwe, were that he was supposed to report at Tlokweng Police Station amongst other things. “He was supposed to report to Tlokweng Police Station every Monday between 7.30am and 6.30pm which he never did. He was ordered to surrender his passport which he never did,” said Balatlhwa. He said he has therefore pleaded with the courts to remand Mogotsi in custody lest he kills the next victim and flees again fearing that he might elude the police forever. Gaolekwe said it would indeed not come as a shock if at the end of it all Mogotsi gets the ultimate punishment which is the death penalty.

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