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Final round in NIMT double murder trial in October

2023-09-15  Maria Sheya

Final round in NIMT double murder trial in October

The Windhoek High Court will hear closing arguments in the trial of Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser, who admitted to having shot and killed two senior executives of the NIMT institute in Arandis in April 2019.

Yesterday, Judge Christie Liebenberg rescheduled the hearing to 16 October after the court was informed that prosecutor Antonia Hoff was unavailable. 

The parties were expected to submit their arguments before the court could deliver judgement in the case. 

Lichtenstrasser has been on trial for the deaths of two of his superiors - NIMT executive director at the time Eckhardt Mueller and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig. Mueller and Hellwig died in the morning hours of 15 April 2019 after being gunned down at the entrance of the NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town. 

He further faces two charges of possessing a firearm without a licence and another charge of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition.

In a confession – which Lichtenstrasser fought hard to keep out of evidence but failed – admitted to having killed Mueller and Hellwig.  

He confessed that he drove from his residence to Arandis the previous evening between 22h00 and 23h00 but realised that he was too early when he got there. 

He then decided to drive into the desert for a few kilometres, where he kept popping strong painkillers with booze and he hallucinated with voices in his head, talking to him, asking him: “Is it worth it? Is it worth it?” There was another voice in my head saying Mueller deserved it, that he was his enemy and that he was on a mission.

The next morning, he drove to the NIMT campus and waited for Mueller and Hellwig. 

When he saw their car approaching, he followed them and parked behind them.

He was still unsure of what to do at that stage, he said, but when “Henry” saw him and asked him what he was doing there, he took out the gun and went into training mode but it became automatic when Mueller said to him in German: “What are you doing here? Get lost.”

Lichtenstrasser said it was his tone of voice that pushed him over the edge.

According to him, he thinks he shot Hellwig first because he thinks Hellwig threw himself in front of Mueller, but Hellwig did not fall immediately and he kept on firing. He said after the body shots, he went over and fired two more shots into the heads of Hellwig and Mueller.

From there, he drove in the direction of Usakos and then went into the desert, where he buried the firearm he used to commit the murders and some live projectiles he still had on him. 

From his directions, the police found parts of a gun, 18 live bullets and a holster buried under a rock in the desert near Arandis.

Lichtenstrasser is represented by lawyer Albert Titus.


2023-09-15  Maria Sheya

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