Tuesday 2 April 2024


THE High Court has sentenced a Rushinga man to 35 years in jail for killing a tobacco farmer during a botched robbery.

Jacket Chimunhondo, who was convicted after a full trial by High Court judge Justice Lucy Mungwari, will serve the full sentence.

According to court papers, the accused’s accomplice, Nomore Mavhura’s wife told her husband that the deceased had received a substantial amount of money as proceeds of the sale of his tobacco crop.

Mavhura then connived with Chimunhondo to rob the deceased and he obliged and travelled from his home to Mavhura’s place for that purpose.

On the night of the botched robbery, the two armed themselves with a knife which they had purchased earlier that day.

They went to the deceased’s homestead after nightfall and located the victim and barged into the hut he used as his bedroom.

The deceased resisted and a fight ensued, during which the accused stabbed the deceased twice, on the cheek and on the chest, resulting in his death 10 minutes later.

The accused failed to access the money.

The State implored the court to find that the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances.

The defence counsel did not contest the argument because it was irrefutable that the murder was clearly committed in the course of a robbery.

Justice Mungwari ruled that, indeed, the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances.

“They discussed the modalities and even went out of their way to purchase a knife for use in the robbery. In the dead of the night, they barged into the deceased’s bedroom and killed him in cold blood before fleeing the scene. The deceased died instantly,” Justice Mungwari ruled.

“Although currently, the presumptive penalty for a murder committed in aggravating circumstances is 20 years, that law only came into existence in the latter half of 2023, yet this offence occurred in 2020.

“The sentencing guidelines were not meant to operate retrospectively. It follows that the court is bound by the sentences which are prescribed for a murder committed in aggravating circumstances, namely that it may sentence the offender to death, to imprisonment for life or to a definite term not less than 20 years imprisonment.”

Justice Mungwari said the deceased was a young man aged 29 and that the doctor who conducted an autopsy indicated that he was in good health prior to his demise.

“He also determined the cause of death as stab wounds, with the chest wound being 15cm long and 10cm deep, indicating that significant force was exerted by the accused.

“The use of a knife by the offender, which ordinarily is viewed as a lethal weapon, and the part of the body at which it was directed also makes it aggravatory. He aimed at the deceased’s delicate part of the body, which is the chest. In the end, the weapon which he used was expected to inflict the injuries it ended up causing. A life was lost and can never be replaced,” the judge noted.

Chimunhondo’s accomplice, Nomore Mavhura was also convicted and is already serving a 30-year jail term.

“The offender struck the fatal blow, displayed no remorse, and fled the scene, while his accomplice showed remorse by assisting the police and willingly subjecting himself to trial.

“Considering the offender’s lack of remorse and possible risk of reoffending, he deserves to be removed from society for a significant period of time, more than his accomplice. Therefore, the offender is sentenced to 35 years imprisonment,” the judge ruled. Newsday


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