Two accused sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a couple

News South Africa

Tebogo Msimanga |

The Benoni Regional Court sentenced Melusi Gift Shima (26) and Ishmael Hlabathi (35) to two life terms each for the premeditated murder of a couple. The court ordered that the life terms run concurrently.  On 26 May 2019, the couple, Johanco Fleischman (19) and Jessica Kuhn (21) were driving a bakkie with two passengers, when they ran out of fuel at the Putfontein off-ramp.

The couple was approached by the pair who shot them dead.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Gauteng Spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said a witness pointed them out to the police and they were arrested from their homes on 19 June 2020, and have been in custody since after NPA successfully opposed bail. “The pair pleaded not guilty to killing the couple. In their victim Impact statement, Kuhn’s parents stated that ever since the killing of their daughter, they have been diagnosed with depression and are taking medication to cope, the mother said she is scared to drive in case the car stops on the side road.”

The parents fear they will no longer have children to look after them as Kuhn’s two brothers want to immigrate because they no longer feel safe in South Africa.

Prosecutor Tashnee Ramcharan argued in court and said “what the pair did was a ruthless and heinous offence.” The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomes the sentence.

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