Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday reserved his judgment in the trial of Azaan Madisia and her brother and co-accused Steven Mulundu on 16 May at 10h00.
Madisia (30) and Mulundu (25) are on trial for the murder and robbery of 22-year-old Shannon Wasserfall – a close friend of Madisia – in April 2020.
Madisia reported Wasserfall missing, and allegedly also took part in some of the searches conducted to find her. Both pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances but pleaded guilty on a charge of defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice. Madisia pleaded guilty to two additional counts of fraud. During her evidence in defence, Madisia claimed that Wasserfall’s death was the result of a tragic accident. She said she and the victim were involved in a pushing match when the victim fell over her bed and hit her head on a wall.
She denied that she and Mulundu conspired to kill Wasserfall, and insists that Mulundu only helped her to get rid of the body. Yesterday, prosecutor Henry Muhongo was adamant that the contradictions in the various versions of Madisia are material and point to a guilty verdict. According to Muhongo, the actions of Madisia after the incident speak volumes about her intentions. He said that Madisia did not attempt in any manner whatsoever to assist the victim after she “fell”.
“The only reasonable conclusion to infer from this is that the goal was the death of the deceased,” he said before he asked the court to find Madisia guilty of murder with direct intent. With regards to Mulundu, he said he must have known that his sister did something unlawful, but he still agreed to help her with the removal of the body. That makes him guilty of murder as an accessory after the fact, Muhongo stated.
He further said both accused are guilty of theft, as they connived together to dispose of the jacket, sandals, watch and cell phone of the victim in an attempt to rid themselves of evidence that can link them to the disappearance of Wasserfall.
On a question from Judge Liebenberg, whether this will not constitute a duplication of charges with defeating the course of justice, he said the accused completed the defeating charge when they buried the body of the victim and formed a different intent when they discarded the items belonging to the victim.
Legal Aid lawyer Albert Titus, who is appearing on behalf of Madisia, said the version of Madisia is reasonably possibly true.
According to him, it is a fact that a person who is confronted with a murder charge would give an explanation that to them in that moment is the most plausible even though not true.
That is what happened in this instance, he said, adding that Madisia, when she made the false declarations, was not thinking clearly but immediately when she realised her mistake, she corrected it.
He asked the court to dismiss the murder and theft charges, and only convict Madisia on the charges she admitted. Legal Aid lawyer Tanya Klazen, on behalf of Mulundu, argued that her client believed the death of Wasserfall was an accident, and that he only helped his sister out of loyalty.
She further said the State did not produce an iota of evidence to prove the alternative, and it did not prove that he was involved in the so-called theft of the victim’s belongings.