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Murder accused blames alcohol

Bloody-knifeNat Molomo

MASERU — A man convicted of three murders and an attempted murder case has told the court he killed the victims because he was under the influence of alcohol.

Lepolesa Khotšeng, 30, from Kolo Ha Matetoane also told the court he and his family suspected that one of the victims had used witchcraft to cause death in the family.

He was charged in the High Court for shooting three people and setting fire to their two houses and found guilty on October 30.

The murders took place on May 11, 2011 in the Mafeteng district.

He told Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane and two assessors on Tuesday when giving evidence intended to reduce his punishment.

Khotšeng said he had just met a series of family tragedies in succession and “had consumed a large quantity of liquor, whose overall effect affected his judgment.”

According to Khotšeng, his elder brother Mosiuoa, his elder brother’s wife and their child died.

He said the death of his other brother Mosiuoa in September 2011 affected him badly since yet another of his brothers, Tšeliso, had died in August 2009.

“My family and myself suspected that somebody was responsible for their deaths,” he told the court.

Khotšeng told the court the family suspected Morongoe Matlali was responsible for the family’s multiple bereavement.

He was being led in his evidence by defence lawyer Advocate Thulo Hoeane.

“I committed these crimes because I was under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

The evidence was that on May 11, 2011, Khotšeng who is a herdboy arrived at the house of Morongoe Matlali where he kicked the door open and fired a gun indiscriminately, killing Morongoe and a child Karabo.

One of the relatives in the house, Ntsekiseng, escaped.

The accused then poured paraffin on clothing in the house and set the house on fire. From there, he moved to the house of Makhahliso Matlali and did the same.

He disappeared and was arrested after three months.

In mitigation, Hoeane told the court that Khotseng’s anger had driven him to kill his brother and his family.

He submitted that on that day the accused was drunk and that also affected his judgment.

Hoeane also said Khotšeng, who “is illiterate” supported three minor children and his elderly parents.

The case will continue next Thursday (November 14).


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