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Brendin Horner: State says it has no murder, robbery case against accused

Brendin Horner: State says it has no murder, robbery case against accused

The timelines in the Brendin Horner murder case were being heavily scrutinised as the two men accused of his murder stood trial.

Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba were accused of killing the 21-year-old farm manager and tying him to a fence in October last year in Senekal, in the Free State.

The 24-hour period between 7 pm on 1 October and the following day was rather contentious in the Bethlehem Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Last year, the court heard how Horner was killed on the early morning of 2 October, but now the State has changed this, saying the young farm manager was killed between 7 pm and 7:30 pm on 1 October.

With this change, the alibi of the accused is seemingly confirmed as the families of both men say they were with them at around 7 pm that night.

The court also has various statements on when the men allegedly bragged about killing Horner at a local tavern.

Two witnesses, namely Moses Mokoena and Matleke Motlokoa, have placed the accused at the tavern saying they heard the same story but at different times in the evening.

The State’s key witness Boy Khambule also said he heard this story but said this was on Saturday.

The only challenge with this account is that the men were already arrested and in police custody at that time.

Khambule has since rescinded his statement, saying parts of it were written by police and not him.

SOBRIETY QUESTIONED

The defence lawyers in the Horner murder trial have questioned the sobriety of some of the State witnesses who claim to have heard incriminating evidence from the accused.

All of the State’s civilian witnesses so far are members of the Fateng Tse Ntsho community. One of those was Mokoena.

Mokoena said he was drinking on Friday, 2 October, at a popular tavern when he overheard Matlaletsa and Mahlamba speaking about killing Horner.

But throughout his testimony, he admits to having more than one bottle of beer.

The validity of alibis has been scrutinised in the Brendin Horner murder trial, with the State submitting new evidence about the whereabouts of one of the accused on the night that he was killed.

Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba returned to the Bethlehem Magistrates Court on Thursday on charges of murder and theft of a motor vehicle.

It’s been an uphill battle for the State in trying to place Matlaletsa and Mahlamba at the scene of Horner’s death as the DNA found in Horner’s bakkie did not match theirs and the DNA of the blood on their clothes did not match Horner’s.

The State has been riding on testimony by members of the public who claim to have heard Mahlamba and Matlaletsa bragging about killing Horner at a local tavern.

But even that is not watertight as the testimonies by the State witnesses have not been consistent.

Initially, the families of the accused told police that they were with the men at around 7 pm, the estimated time that Horner was murdered.

But now doubt has been cast on Mahlamba’s testimony that he went to fetch his girlfriend Maleqhwa Sithole at around 7 pm.

This as new evidence submitted in a warning statement shows that Sithole said that they were together from 4 pm that afternoon.

The State in the Brendin Horner murder case has conceded that it has no case against the accused in respect to murder and robbery.

Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba will only be charged with the theft of two sheep.


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