Two life terms for murder of farmer and son

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    Nat Quinn


    The high court in the Free State has sentenced two men to two life terms each for the murder of a farmer and his son in their Zwartpan farm home in November 2020.
    Pieter Hills, 56, and his son Eddie, 26, were attacked and murdered in the early hours of November 5.
    According to evidence, four men went to the farm with the intention of stealing sheep but decided to rob the family when they could not find any sheep.
    Fatally stabbed and shot
    They entered the house, stabbed Hills several times and shot his son Eddie before demanding keys for the safe.
    According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Hills died on the scene moments later whilst his critically injured son Eddie was transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries few days later.
    One of the suspects arrested in connection with the murder turned state witness whilst the second suspect was found hanging in his cell.
    Tshidiso Bochedi (38) and Mojalefa Modise (40) pleaded not guilty for murder and house breaking, opting to go for trial but, after the prosecution had led evidence of seven witnesses, they made admissions that changed their pleas to guilty.
    According to Phaladi Shuping, NPA regional spokesperson, in aggravation, State Prosecutor, Advocate Sandile Mthethwa requested the court to sentence the accused to life imprisonment.
    No remorse
    He said this was because they had failed to convince the court that substantial and compelling circumstances existed for imposition of a lesser sentence.
    “The accused killed the deceased in a cold-blooded manner in the comfort of their home and failed to show any remorse. Aggravating circumstances far outweigh the mitigating factors. Two lives were taken away and no sentence will bring back the deceased but the community is looking upon the courts for protection and it is only through harsh sentences that they will feel protected”, Mthethwa said.
    Acting High court Judge Anthia Ramos agreed with the state that neither of the factors presented by the accused constituted substantial and compelling circumstances for a lesser sentence.
    Judge Ramos concluded that the only sentence to impose was life imprisonment for each count of murder and five years for housebreaking.
    She further declared both the accused unfit to possess a firearm.


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