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Judge refuses to try American murder suspects separately

Judge refuses to try American murder suspects separately

Eba Kandovazu

THE Windhoek high court this morning dismissed an application to have the two American nations accused of murder tried separately, saying it would not be in the interest of justice to do so.
Kevin Tow, 33, last month requested that he be tried separately from his co-accused, Marcus Thomas, 34, citing financial prejudice. Townsend’s argument was that he has been ready to proceed with the trial since2015, but due to Thomas’ numerous applications, the trial has been stalled.
The state is alleging that the two killed Andre Heckmair, 25, at close range in his car at an isolated street in Klein Windhoek in January 2011.

MURDER ACCUSED: Marcus Thomas and Kevin Townsend. Photo: Eba Kandovazu

Judge Christie Liebenberg found that Townsend failed to prove on a balance of probabilities that he would indeed suffer prejudice, although he had earlier indicated that his legal bill was going up even though the trial is stalled.
On this point, the judge maintained that Townsend voluntarily opted for a private lawyer instead of one provided for by the state at the cost to him.
His father, Roger Bonds, has also been travelling from the US to witness the trial, but continuous postponements of no doing of his own meant Bonds had wasted resources.
The judge further found it would not be advisable to have the two tried separately, given the nature of their common purpose charges and the possibility of conflicting evidence.
According to the Judge, Townsend should not now cry foul and claim his rights to a speedy trial have been infringed upon when he at no stage opposed Thomas’ applications.
“He stood idle and never opposed the applications,” Judge Liebenberg said.
The duo will return to court on 28 October for continuation of trial.

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