Abel Zhakata Senior Court Reporter
TWO cheeky armed robbers who gunned down a well-known Chiadzwa illegal diamond dealer in February last year and robbed him of $3 000 will rot in jail after they were slapped with a life sentence each for intentionally committing the murder.
Senior High Court Judge, Justice Hlekani Mwayera, sitting the with assessors, Mr Madzinga and Dr Sana, at the Mutare High Court last week found Marcos Madhume (35) and Thomas Mike Makoni Nyakujara (44) guilty of murder with actual intent.
The pair murdered Blessing Chikwangura after they pumped four bullets into his chest during the robbery at his house in Kusena Village.
Public prosecutor, Mr Malvin Musarurwa, told the court that on February 2 last year the now deceased received a phone call from an unknown number inviting him to come out of his house.
“He woke up and asked his wife, Chioniso Sithole to close the door after he had left,” he said.
“He got into his car, a Ford Ranger (Registration ADY 6184), and drove towards Kurauone Primary School. After about an hour, he came back home and parked his car in the yard. He called his wife to unlock the door and quickly got into the house and locked the door from inside.
“The armed robbers peeped through the window and ordered Chikwangura to come out of the house but he refused,”
The court heard that the suspects went to the dining room and broke all the windowpanes. They then used a log to break the bedroom door and gained entry into the bedroom. At that moment, Chikwangura was hiding behind a wardrobe, while his wife hid in the bathroom. One of the robbers hit Chikwangura with a log on the head while the other robber fired a shot towards him.
The deceased who was now armed with a machete managed to escape from the bedroom and bolted out of the house through the main door which had been opened. The suspects fired more shots towards the direction Chikwangura had used.
His wife escaped into the darkness with her four-year-old child. The robbers, who were now alone at the compound ransacked the house and stole $3 000 from a headboard drawer and a Samsung Tablet. They disappeared into the night.
Chikwangura was found about 20 metres away from his house in a pool of blood and he died as efforts were being made to take him to hospital.
Police and army officers who were patrolling the diamond rich area rushed to the scene after hearing gunshots, but the suspects had long gone.
Madhume who was being represented by Mrs Chinamo of Bere Brothers had pleaded not guilty to murder but tendered a plea of guilt to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
In his defence outline Madhume told the court that together with his co-accused they travelled to Marange in order to engage in illegal diamond mining. He said while they were making enquiries relating to illegal mining in the area, they were directed to the deceased homestead where the deceased operated a shabeen. Upon arrival at the shabeen they bought 200ml of Mozambican whisky which they consumed.
He said while at the shabeen the deceased approached him and his co-accused.
They told him about their intention to embark on illegal diamond mining. The deceased promised to finance them if they can manage to find three other people to join their syndicate. He said while at the shabeen they learnt from a man that the deceased had diamonds and a lot of money in his house.
He and his co-accused devised a plan to rob the deceased rather than continue with their original plan. He said he had no intention to use the fire arm to shoot and kill Chikwangura. He said he carried the firearm in order to threaten the deceased and said he only used the firearm in self defence after he was being attacked by the deceased with a machete.
Madhume also told the court that had he not been intoxicated he would have overpowered the deceased without having to use the firearm. He said the intake of alcohol and drunkenness resulted in him reacting in an unreasonable manner as he tried to ward off the attack by the deceased. He accepted that he was negligent in his reaction to the assault which resulted in the deceased’s death.
Nyakujara, through his lawyer, Mr Victor Chinzamba of Mugadza, Chinzamba and Partners Legal Practitioners, said although they had planned to rob the deceased of diamonds and cash they never discussed or agreed with his co-accused that the gun would be used in the robbery. He said he never went into the room where the deceased was but remained outside and witnessed the event through the window of the dining room.
They were found guilty as charged after the State led overwhelming evidence that warranted a conviction.