ERNST Josef Lichtenstrasser’s proclivity for hiding weapons and his military training has members of the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) management fearing for their lives
Inspector Reinhard Maletsky, one of the detectives who investigated the double murder of NIMT director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig on 15 April this year testified in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court during the resumption of Lichtenstrasser’s formal bail application that several of the institute’s staff members informed him that they live in fear for their lives.
Detective Inspector Maletsky was called to testify on behalf of the State with regards to the evidence against the murder accused in the formal bail application and stated that the accused person is even likely to interfere with his son, a state witness, who gave a statement with regards to empty shell casings and his father doing a practice shoot on a farm near Otavi with a pistol days before the double murder at Arandis.
During is evidence in chief, Inspector Maletsky testified that during his first interview with Lichtensrtasser on 18 April, the accused person informed him and two other detectives that he was the shooter and that he could not fool the police any longer. The accused person changed his tune after his lawyer paid him a visit in the Arandis Police Station.
The accused person was released as a person of interest in the double murder but rearrested on charges of possession unlicensed ammunition on which he appeared in the Karibib Magistrate’s Court on 22 April. He was remanded in custody and d three weeks later he informed the detectives that he decided to confess to the double murder.
“The suspect was informed of his rights and informed that the confession would be recorded and filmed. He went ahead and made the confession and was afterwards informed that he would have to repeat the process before a Swakopmund Magistrate. After making some admissions to the magistrate, the accused person decided against the formal confession after speaking to another lawyer.”
Detective Inspector Maletsky testified that in the confession at the Walvis Bay Police Station the accused person described how he shot Mueller and Hellwig. He also told detectives that he was glad that another colleague of the deceased persons was not with them at the time because he described him as a good guy. He further admitted to hiding under a railway bridge to avoid being detected by a police helicopter and where he hid the murder weapon.
“The investigation team went out to find the hiding places and using the statement of a witness we eventually managed to find the murder weapon, a Beretta nine millimetre pistol, a brown holster and 18 live rounds. The accused person told us in his confession that the pistol was a weapon that was part of another weapon stash found on his former wife’s farm near Karibib during 2013.”
The detective testified that forensic analysis of the pistol and the live rounds correlated with the empty cartridges found on the shooting range and at the accused person’s house. He stated further that DNA samples were taken from the holster and the pistol and that the investigation team are still awaiting the results from a forensic laboratory.
Inspector Maletsky stated that although the confession of the accused person would make the state’s case stronger during the eventual murder trial that it is not needed because of the overwhelming nature of the circumstantial and forensic evidence.
“The investigation is not yet completed. We are still looking into possible accomplices in the murder plot and accessories after the fact because of the seriousness of the matter.”
He testified that certain NIMT employees live in fear for their lives, that the public’s interest in the matter is very high and that the accused person poses a very high flight risk. Because the investigation is not yet competed adn the fact that the accused person might interfere with witnesses Detective Inspector Maletsky stated that the accused person should not be granted bail.
Lichtenstrasser’s formal bail application is set to continue today where the state witness will be taken under cross examination by the accused person’s legal counsel.