A 28-year old man, Tshepo Koobake escaped the hangman’s noose by a whisker after the Francistown High Court sentenced him to 15 years in jail for murdering his friend, Gabogaisangwe Gasebatho four years ago in Palapye.
The court heard that Koobake approached Gasebatho at a drinking hole on that fateful day to demand payment for his cell phone that the deceased took and failed to pay for the past three months. The deceased then laughed off Koobake who threatened to kill him if he fails to pay.
It is alleged that the accused then hit his friend with a gum pole on the head and he sustained serious injuries. While some people took the deceased to the hospital, Koobake allegedly followed them and stabbed the deceased with a knife on numerous occasions. He later succumbed to his injuries at Palapye primary hospital and the accused was subsequently charged with the murder of Gasebatho.
Delivering sentence, Justice Phadi Solomon said the accused person pleaded guilty to the charge, which is a sign of remorse. “The accused person did not waste the court’s time as he voluntarily pleaded guilty to the charge,” Solomon revealed.
“It is my considered view that there are extenuating circumstances in this case which eliminates the death penalty. The accused person committed the offence under the influence of alcohol and marijuana,” the judge declared. According to Solomon, Koobake was provoked by his friend who refused to pay him for the cell phone that he sold to the deceased.
She further noted that the accused person had a rustic background because his mother passed on while he was still young and his father deserted him. Solomon added: “the accused has never gone to school and thus lack emotional intelligence on how to handle certain situations.”
The court also decided to temper justice with mercy because the accused person committed the offence aged 23 and therefore, he might have committed the horrendous crime due to youthful exuberance. Koobake’s jail term was backdated to 23rd March, 2017 when his bail was revoked.
Meanwhile, a 36-year old man Bobi Molathiwa was sentenced to 8 years behind bars for murdering his friend, Johane Molebatsi during a drinking spree at Mooka cattle post near Serowe in 2013. Molathiwa allegedly assaulted Molebatsi for insulting him. The deceased later passed on due to the injuries he sustained during the assault.
Handing down the sentence, Justice Lot Moroka said the accused person did not have the intention to kill the deceased. “The deceased’s death was a very unfortunate incident and therefore the court should be merciful to the accused person because he did not have the intention to murder his friend,” Moroka concluded.