Only way to escape 'Krugersdorp Killers' was to fake your death, judge told

23 May 2019 - 11:57 By IAVAN PIJOOS
The alleged 'Krugersdorp Killers', Marcel Steyn, Cecilia Steyn and Zak Valentine in the South Gauteng High Court.
The alleged 'Krugersdorp Killers', Marcel Steyn, Cecilia Steyn and Zak Valentine in the South Gauteng High Court.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

The only way to escape from a murderous enterprise that embarked on a killing spree in Gauteng was to fake one's death and go into hiding.

That was how a state prosecutor portrayed the cult-like "Krugersdorp Killers" on Thursday during closing arguments in a murder trial featuring religion, satanism and betrayal.   

Prosecutor Gerrit Roberts SC described the mastermind behind the group as a "witch" and argued that everything in the case revolved around her.

"At the top was the mastermind Cecilia Steyn who received all the benefits and proceeds of the crimes, who was giving instructions to the subordinates and who made sure that she never dirtied her hands by becoming directly involved in the criminal activities of her subordinates," he said.

Cecilia Steyn, Zak Valentine and Marcel Steyn have pleaded not guilty to 32 counts, including murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, fraud and intimidation.

All three sat quietly in court with straight faces.

Le Roux Steyn entered into a plea bargain with the state in 2018. Marinda Steyn has already been sentenced to 11 life terms.

They were all part of the Electus Per Deus group, who believed they were "chosen by God". The group allegedly killed 11 people between 2012 and 2016.

Roberts further argued that Marinda was Cecilia's "second-in-charge" and Marcel and her brother Le Roux were the foot soldiers.

He told the court if it had not been for the rift between Cecilia and Ria Grunewald, who was the leader of Overcomers Through Christ (OTC), none of the offences would have been committed.

"If you take out accused two [Cecilia] there was no reason to start with the initial murders.

"Even the state witnesses were sucked in to a certain extent, but they had the courage to break away," Roberts said.

Judge Ellem Francis asked Roberts if he thought Cecilia was a witch.

"She was a witch who repented out of satanism, but she manipulated it for her own selfish reasons," he said.

Francis then asked Roberts if someone could still be held accountable and found guilty if they had put money into the enterprise knowing it was not for a good cause.

He agreed.

He submitted that the state had proved all of the charges according to the indictment and described it as a case of deceit and lies which led to the killing of 11 people.

Roberts said the only way to "get out" of the enterprise was to fake one's death and go into hiding.

The trial continues.