BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo has acquitted a 27-year-old man, who murdered a Gweru woman and removed her brain for suspected ritual purposes, ruling that he committed the murder due to insanity.
Justice Moyo, who was sitting at the Gweru High Court circuit yesterday, considered a psychiatric report that indicated Johane Nyasha Masiiwa suffered from mental delusions and acquitted him of the murder.
However, the judge considered the psychiatrist’s report that Masiiwa was a danger to society and ruled that he be committed to Mlondolozi Psychiatric Hospital in Bulawayo.
Masiiwa and his accomplice Artwell Chimupeto killed Patience Mpofu in February 2011.
For the State, Tafadzwa Mpariwa told the court that on February 16 2011 in Mkoba 2, Masiiwa and Chimupeto, who are friends, allegedly hatched a plan to obtain a human brain for ritual purposes.
They reportedly formed the Chisungo Chevapostori Apostolic Faith sect, which Mpofu also became a member of.
The two went to Mpofu’s house armed with an axe and upon arrival, Masiiwa, who was known to the deceased and knocked at the door. She came out with the conviction that they were going for prayer sessions behind her house.
Mpofu knelt in a prayer position and closed her eyes. Masiiwa then allegedly struck her once on the head with the axe and she died instantly.
Masiiwa and Chimupeto extracted Mpofu’s brain matter and covered her body with a blanket before allegedly stealing a Phillips DVD from the house.
The axe used in the alleged murder was recovered at Masiiwa’s house while the DVD was recovered from his mother’s place.
When Masiiwa was arrested, he implicated Chimupeto before leading police to the murder scene.