Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Graveyard killer found guilty


Imogen Vollenhoven

30 October 2102

Maartens van der Merwe was today found guilty of the murder of Michael van Eck in a Welkom graveyard in the Free State last year. Virginia Circuit Court Judge Ian van der Merwe ruled that the accused had no psychological illness and could differentiate between right and wrong at the time of the murder. He pleaded guilty to all charges including robbery with aggravating circumstance and dismembering the victim's body.

The State said his third psychological evaluation report had been completed. Van der Merwe was sent to Pretoria central prison where a psychologist examined him and his defence team then deemed him fit to stand trial. Van der Merwe was then taken to Bloemfontein after a circuit court judge could not attend the case in Virginia.

Van der Merwe is accused of helping Charne van Heerden murder and dismembering Van Eck, 23, at a Welkom cemetery in April 2010.

His trial was separated from Van Heerden's last year. He has yet to enter a plea. Van Heerden was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years behind bars on November 25, after being convicted of killing and dismembering Van Eck.

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