Vicious killer jailed 20 years

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High Court judge Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase
High Court judge Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase

Tefo Tefo

Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase on Monday sentenced Malibeng Ralenkoane 20 years in prison for the brutal murder of a Thaba-Tseka man 10 years ago.

The High Court judge found Ralenkoane (35) guilty of killing Kantane Sello at Khorong Cattle Post on 20 September 2005 and sent him down for two decades  without an option of a fine.

Ralenkoane was facing a charge of murder together with Lebohang Matlali, who has since died.

Ralenkoane and Matlali assaulted, shot and set Sello on fire after he had gone to their cattle post in search of his lost dog.

Evidence presented in court indicated when Sello arrived at the post on the fateful day, he asked the two men if they had seen his dog.

The paid told him to move around their animals and see if he could find it, the evidence also showed.

However, things took a nasty turn when he failed to find the dog, the court further heard.

According to the evidence, the pair started assaulting Sello with sticks before  Matlali shot him in the head.

Ralenkoane then suggested to his colleague that they should burn the injured Sello “as he seemed to be taking too long to die”, the court was also told.

In her ruling, Justice Mahase said Ralenkoane and his partner-in-crime killed an innocent man in cold blood hence the hefty sentence.

According to the judge, she had considered both mitigating and aggravating factors presented by defence and crown counsel Advocate Khoete Metsing and  Advocate Lechesa Mahao respectively, before delivering her verdict.

Justice Mahase said: “This court was told (by Advocate Metsing) that everyone has a right to life.

“Even though counsel said something about the right to life, he never said anything about the deceased.

“I don’t know if he meant the deceased had no right to life.

“On the other hand, the crown said the court should not lose sight of the fact that the family of the deceased, particularly his children and wife, were deprived of their father and a husband respectively, and also that the deceased was a breadwinner in the family.”

The judge further said Ralenkoane and Matlali wanted Sello to die.

“In fact, it was this accused who suggested that the deceased should be burnt.

“The accused, in his own words, said the deceased was taking too long to die. That’s why they set the fire and burnt him,” Justice Mahase noted.

She further said after Sello had died, Ralenkoane and Matlali took his remains away from the cattle post to hide them.

“After killing and burning him, none of them reported the matter to anybody; probably they thought his body would never be found.

“What I find is the cruelty of the accused in all these actions; the deceased was brutally and inhumanly killed in a manner that not even an animal should be subjected to.

“The barbaric manner in which he was killed clearly shows that some people don’t value human life at all,” she said.

Justice Mahase also dismissed suggestions the age of the convict should be a factor in his punishment.

She also dismissed the argument that Ralenkoane acted brutally because he was illiterate.

“I have not been told that he has a mental problem of some kind.

“It is clear the accused were sober when they assaulted, shot and burned the deceased.

“Nevertheless, I have considered all the mitigating factors given on behalf of the accused.

“All I can say is that some people have no conscience and do not think before doing things.

“The accused is accordingly sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Count One (murder).

“He is also sentenced to six months imprisonment or a fine of M500 on Count Two of illegal possession of a firearm.

“The two sentences will run concurrently,” Justice Mahase concluded.

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