Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
ROBERT Chiguma of Hwedza, who killed two people after being confronted over the theft of a kitchen cabinet, has been sentenced to death.
Chiguma committed the offence on October 21, 2014 amid allegations that he had stolen a kitchen cabinet from his neighbour.
The two victims were killed while trying to investigate the theft at community level. After the gruesome murder, Chiguma went on to steal bags of fertiliser and a pair safety shoes belonging to the deceased.
High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou found Chiguma guilty of murder with actual intent before slapping him with capital punishment. The judge said under the circumstances, the death penalty was appropriate.
“While I accept that the Constitution gives the court the discretion as to whether or not to pass the sentence of death, it would be a seriously improper exercise of judicial discretion not to impose the death penalty in the circumstances of this case, unless the accused person can show cause why the sentence of death should not be passed in respect of each of the two counts of murder,” ruled Justice Zhou.
The court did not find any extenuating circumstances warranting a prison term. “In the instant case, the court has already found that there are no extenuating circumstances in respect of both counts,” said the judge.
Justice Zhou said Chiguma killed innocent people who were merely accompanying a neighbour to check on the suspicious kitchen cabinet.
“As regards aggravating circumstances, this court finds it to be more than serious that the accused person killed the deceased persons for merely accompanying a person who intended to make a genuine inquiry about a kitchen cabinet which he believed to be his,” he said.
On the eve of the gruesome murder, one Khawun Mpofu was accompanied to Chiguma’s house by the two now deceased, Gilbert Maweto and Phineas Chiwande, to investigate a matter involving the theft of a kitchen unit.
Upon their arrival, Mpofu positively identified his kitchen unit in the absence of the accused.
The following day, Chiguma learnt that some men had inquired about the kitchen cabinet and in a rage tracked down Maweto whom he allegedly struck several times with a log, killing him in the process.
He stuffed the corpse in a fire vault and proceeded to Chiwande’s house and again assaulted him several times with a sharp object killing him before dumping the body in a pool along a stream.
The two deceased’s remains were located on October 24 and November 1, 2014.
In his defence, Chiguma argued he was forced to confess to the charges and to plead guilty against his will.
He argued that he did not kill the duo even though they had problems over the kitchen cabinet.