Convicted killer condemned to die
Standing nervously in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning, convicted killer Wedu Mosalagae let out an involuntary gasp of despair when, for the second time in a year, he was condemned to the hangman’s noose.
The 32-year-old Mmatshumu native had been seeking to overturn the death sentence he received last year for the brutal 2012 murder of his girlfriend, Barobi Rampape.
He was unsuccessful by two Judges’ votes to one.
Mosalagae had based his plea for life on four points: he acted in jealousy, his youthfulness at the time of the murder, the murder was not planned and he was a first-time offender.
Giving his version of events on the November day that he became a killer in Letlhkane village almost eight years ago, Mosalagae told court the trouble started on his return home after a quick trip to the mall.
He claimed that he arrived back at the house he rented with 24-year-old Rampope only to find his girlfriend had locked herself inside with another man.
“I forced them to open the door and confronted the man resulting in a fight. The man escaped and I remained with the deceased. I asked her who the man was and her response was that whoever the man was, it does not concern me!”
Choosing his words carefully, his very life depending on his testimony, Mosalagae added, “I became very angry. We fought, I choked her and she passed out. I waited for a while thinking that she will come by but she remained unconscious.”
Presiding over Mosalagae’s fate, the panel of three Judges were divided in their assessment.
Judge Otlogetswe was against the death sentence, describing the murder as a crime of passion. He noted that Mosalagae was only 25 at the time of the killing and had no previous convictions.
Taking all these factors into account, Judge Otlogetswe reasoned that 20 years imprisonment rather than the death penalty would be a more appropriate punishment.
Unfortunately for the convicted murderer, Judge Otlogetswe’s colleagues felt otherwise.
Judges Walia and Dambe both dismissed the appeal, upholding the death sentence on the basis that there were no extenuating circumstances.
In their majority and final judgement, the two said there was evidence beyond reasonable doubt scientifically connecting Mosalagae to the offence.
They also dismissed Mosalagae’s claims that he found the deceased with another man as an afterthought.
According to court papers, Rampape, who worked as a nurse at Letlhakane Primary Hospital, was killed by a deep knife cut to the throat.
Her decomposed body was found two days later (26 November 2012) with bloodstains splattered throughout the room and her neck barely attached to her body.
For killing the woman he was meant to love, Mosalagae is set to spend the rest of his days on death row.
Only a presidential pardon can save him from the hangman’s hungry noose.