FRANCITOWN − A man from Kezi, who hacked his Botswana girlfriend’s mother to death before attempting to kill his lover last week escaped the hangman’s noose after a judge ruled he committed the offence under the influence of alcohol.
Thirty-year-old Trust Maphosa survived the death sentence when Francistown High Court Judge Justice Gaongalelwe Ketlogetswe found extenuating circumstances in his case.
Ketlogetswe sentenced Maphosa to 23 years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend’s mother, Mmantho Oagile, and a 15-year jail term for the attempted murder of his girlfriend, Motlalepula Kgosietsile.
Both sentences would run concurrently, meaning Maphosa would serve an effective 23-year jail term.
Maphosa had pleaded not guilty to both counts, arguing that he alongside Oagile and Kgosietsile were attacked by unknown people on March 10 2011.
However, Maphosa was convicted on both counts of murder and attempted murder, due to overwhelming evidence.
The court proved that the man hacked Oagile and attempted to kill his girlfriend at Diolamachena, near Tonota village.
Both the defence counsel and prosecution agreed that extenuating circumstances existed in the matter, which meant that Maphosa could be given any sentence other than the death penalty, the judge ruled.
Although Maphosa was not obliged to prove the existence of extenuating circumstances, the judge told the court that the murderer opted to give sworn evidence in extenuation.
The man had told the court on the fateful day, he had drunk too much of an ilicit brew known as samdenyula and ginger between 11am and 6pm.
Maphosa said he had gone for a beer binge after his girlfriend told him that she had tested HIV-positive.
“He said the news that Motlalepula had been tested HIV positive stressed him to the core because he suspected that she had infected him,” Ketlogetswe said.
.“Mbongwe (State prosecutor) has rightly in my view, pointed out that the accused had been seen drinking Chibuku in the morning by Motlalepula, before leaving for the party.”
Wedu Mbongwe was prosecutor in the case while Opeyemi Ajayi of Ajayi Attorneys represented Maphosa.