THE two robbers who murdered a Karoi taxi driver and dumped his body in a lion-infested game park in Chirundu, have escaped the hangman’s noose, thanks to the new Constitution which states that people that commit murder while below the age of 21 cannot be given the death sentence.
The robbers-cum-murderers were last week slapped with a 25-year imprisonment each with labour.
High Court judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta said the two men, Tafadzwa Watson Mapfoche and Thinkwell Zaranyika, were good candidates for the death penalty, but the country’s new charter protected them from being sent to the gallows in view of their ages.
The court said there were no extenuating circumstances warranting mercy for the two killers, but its hands were tied by the new Constitution.
When Mapfoche and Zaranyika murdered Alneshto Bayeta (36) on March 11, 2011, they were both aged 19.
Bayeta’s body was never recovered after it was devoured by wild animals which only left behind his blood-stained shredded clothes in the game park.
Both men confessed to killing Bayeta by throwing him down the Marongora Heights steep slope in the Chirundu area after robbing him of his vehicle, a Nissan March.
Mapfoche and Zaranyika were arrested by police three weeks later and the vehicle was later recovered at a farm in Mhangura, but it had been stripped of some parts.
On the fateful day, Bayeta was pirating with Leonard Mhundwa’s vehicle in Karoi when the two men hired him to take them to an unknown destination.
When they got to Marongora Heights, Mapfoche and Zaranyika forced Bayeta out of his vehicle, killed him and threw his body in the game park where it was later devoured by wild animals.
Police in conjunction with officers from the National Parks recovered tattered pieces of Bayeta’s pair of brown rafters, navy blue trousers, a white shirt, belt and underwear.
The clothes were scattered in a manner that was consistent with a body that had been preyed on by wild animals.
Prosecutor Charles Manhiri appeared for the State.