Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

The Lichtenburg Regional Court in the North West has sentenced 37-year-old Abraham Abebe Ergicho to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years on each of two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances. Additionally, the court declared him unfit to possess a firearm, according to Henry Mamothame, North West regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Ergicho’s conviction stems from an incident at a Shell garage in Lichtenburg on May 9, 2018. While at the cashier, Ergicho ordered items, and when Francois Swart, the deceased, and his friend entered the shop to make a purchase, Ergicho pulled out a gun. Without uttering a word, he shot Swart at point-blank range and then robbed Swart’s friend of his wallet and car keys. Ergicho fled with the car and the ordered items, abandoning the vehicle near Verdwaal village.

Arrested in December 2020, Ergicho pleaded not guilty during the trial, and at one point, attempted to flee in court but was contained by the police. State prosecutors, advocate Itumeleng Boikanyo, and advocate Joyce Maseko urged the court not to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment during the sentencing. Magistrate Stefan du Toit, citing Ergicho’s “remorseless conduct,” agreed with the State’s recommendation and imposed life imprisonment.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in North West, Dr Rachel Makhari, commended the prosecution team, SA Police Service’s Captain Michael Viljoen, and other stakeholders for ensuring justice in bringing the killer to book.

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