By Mashudu Netsianda
A Masvingo carjacker, who butchered a taxi driver in Beitbridge before robbing him of his car, was yesterday sentenced to death by hanging.
Emmanuel Mapfumo of Stand No 4 Thornhill Extension in Gutu zapped Cliff Chioza — the taxi driver — with an electroshock weapon and fatally stabbed him on the right side of the chest on October 3 last year.>The incident occurred at Mfelandawonye area in Beitbridge’s Dulivhadzimu suburb.
Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Francis Bere, convicted Mapfumo of robbery and murder with actual intent.
He said the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances.
“We are satisfied that the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances. The accused person terminated the deceased’s life in a callous manner. The aggravating circumstances far outweigh the mitigatory factors,” said the judge.
Justice Bere said Mapfumo’s conduct was motivated by greed.
“The deceased died a violent and painful death not because he had committed a crime, but for merely trying to eke out a decent living through his taxi business. However, sadly for all this, the accused person saw it fit to terminate his life and it is clear that he (Mapfumo) was motivated by nothing else but greed.” he said.“If you want a life of comfort you must sweat for it. The lesson must go out loud and clear that the sanctity of life should be protected and no one must harvest where they did not sow.”
In passing the sentence, Justice Bere said Mapfumo deserved to be permanently removed from society.
“The accused person unnecessarily ended an innocent man’s life. We believe we would have betrayed or failed society if we are swayed into passing a sentence other than a death penalty. Those who don’t respect other people’s lives should also have their lives terminated and accordingly, our conviction is that accused person must be permanently removed from society. The sentence of this court is that you be returned to custody and that the sentence of death executed upon you according to the law,” ruled Justice Bere.
On being asked why a death penalty should not be imposed on him, Mapfumo said he had reformed while in remand prison and deserved to be given a second chance through a custodial sentence.
“I admit that I committed the murder, but it was not my intention to kill the deceased. I have reformed after having spent six months in remand prison and I therefore plead for leniency. May the court pass a custodial sentence that would allow me to reunite with my family,” he said.
Justice Bere reminded Mapfumo of his automatic right of appeal against both conviction and sentence at the Supreme Court.
Prosecuting, Mr Thompson Hove said on October 3 last year at around 1AM, Chioza parked his taxi, a Honda Fit, outside Kalahari Sports Bar in Beitbridge.
The court heard that Mapfumo emerged from the bar with his “new” girlfriend Perfedious Moyo, a commercial sex worker. The two hired Chioza to take them to a house in Mfelandawonye area where they said they wanted to be intimate.
Mr Hove said at the woman’s house, Mapfumo ordered her to go inside the house and prepare the bed.
“Mapfumo then remained with Chioza whom he jolted with a high voltage taser and ordered him to surrender his car,” he said.
When Chioza tried to resist, Mapfumo pulled out an Okapi knife and stabbed the deceased twice on the chest and threw him out of the vehicle. He then sped off in Chioza’s vehicle living him lying in a pool of blood.
Residents spotted Chioza and informed the police who rushed the taxi driver to Beitbridge District Hospital where he was certified dead by doctors upon arrival. According to a postmortem report, the cause of death was deep stab wound on the chest, hypovolaemic shock and pneumohaemothorax.
Soon after committing the offence, Mapfumo went to Chatsworth where he sold Chioza’s cell phone. He, however, ran out of luck when he was arrested by detectives at a tollgate along the Harare-Mazowe road while driving the stolen vehicle on his way to a church meeting.
The detectives searched the vehicle leading to the recovery of the electric shocker and Okapi knife. They also recovered the cell phone at Chatsworth where it had been sold to another person.
Mr Pasipanodya Mukondo of Danziger and Partners represented Mapfumo. The Chronicle