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Murder suspects referred to psychiatrist


GWERU — The High Court has ordered that three suspects linked to the alleged murder of a fellow inmate at Whawha Prison be mentally examined before they stand trial.

The three — Wellington Gadzira (38), Nyasha Joanny Musiiwa (24) and Moses Mahuvava (32) — are being charged with the murder of Abel Maphosa inside prison cells after the latter allegedly refused to participate in their jailbreak bid.

Maphosa was serving a 10-year jail term for the murder of Gokwe MDC-T activist, Moses Chokuda. The suspects’ lawyer Tapera Zivanai told NewsDay yesterday High Court judge Justice Meshack Cheda made the ruling in chambers.

“After making presentations to the learned judge, he commuted my clients to go for mental evaluation. The matter was moved to the next High Court circuit,” said Tapera.

Last week, Zivanai told the court his clients had refused to cooperate with him during preparation of their defence outline, adding the suspects appeared to have lost their senses.

“They refused to give us instructions behaving most of the time as if they were under the control of some spirits. This is why we asked the court to have their heads examined before trial,” said Zivanai.

According to the State, the three murdered Maphosa in cell 12 at Whawha Prison on November 23 last year. It is the State’s case that the trio kicked Maphosa with booted feet, knocked his head against the wall and suffocated him by pushing a towel down his throat.

One of the suspects, Gadzira was last week sentenced to death after he was found guilty of the murder of two Bulawayo businessmen using cynide.

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