Zak Valentine even conspired to kill his wife: What will he plead in mitigation?
Sentencing of the Krugersdorp killers gets under way
The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg is expected to hear from the defence team of Zak Valentine when sentencing of the remaining Krugersdorp killers begins on Monday.
Mitigation of sentencing proceedings are set down for this week.
Valentine, mastermind Cecilia Steyn and Marcel Steyn were found guilty of 32 counts between them, including murder, fraud, racketeering and robbery.
The three and their accomplices, Marinda and Le Roux Steyn, and John Barnard, have all been convicted for their roles in a murder spree in Krugersdorp between 2012 and 2016. School teacher Marinda, her son, Le Roux, and Barnard previously pleaded guilty and are serving lengthy jail terms.
The victims were stabbed or strangled.
The murders started after a feud within a church group that aimed to convert satanists to Christianity, with members of the group the early targets. This morphed into killings for financial gain.
Valentine was an insurance broker, who married travel agent Mikeila in 2010. The 25-year-old was killed in a stabbing frenzy in her bed at their Johannesburg home in 2012. Mikeila was killed, police believe, because she refused to support the murderous revenge plot carried out by her husband and other breakaway members of the church.
Barnard, who had worked at a printing shop in Krugersdorp and collaborated in the murder of his employers, Peter and Joan Meyer, testified that they had come up with a plan to fake a life policy payout in Zak Valentine's name. Cecilia was the sole beneficiary of Valentine’s policy.
Barnard testified that he, Valentine and Le Roux befriended Jarod Jackson, 44, who lived on the street. Valentine invited Jackson on a trip to the Free State in December 2015. On the way, they strangled him, put him in the driver’s seat and set the car on fire. They then claimed the dead man was Valentine and applied for the policy payout.
When the insurance company suspected foul play and refused to pay out, the group changed its modus operandi. This led to what was described as the "appointment murders". These victims included a tax consultant, estate agent and insurance brokers, who were lured to their deaths by members of the group who posed as prospective clients.
THEIR VICTIMS AND THEIR ARRESTS
- July 26: Natacha Burger, 33, and Joyce Boonzaaier, 68.
- August 14: Pastor Reginald Bendixen, 75.
- October 11: Mikeila Valentine.
- November 27: Peter Meyer, 51, and his wife, Joan, 47.
- December 16: Jarod Mitchum Jackson, 44.
- January 27: Glen McGregor, 57.
- May 10: Anthony Scholefield, 64.
- May 26: Kevin McAlpine, 29.
- May 31: Hanlé Lategan, 52.
- June: Marcel and Le Roux charged with murder.
- July: Zak, Cecilia and Marinda arrested.
- December: John Barnard pleads guilty. He is sentenced to 30 years in jail, with 10 years suspended on condition he testify against the other accused.
- May 16: Marinda and Le Roux are jailed after admitting their guilt. Marinda is sentenced to 11 life sentences, Le Roux an effective 25-year prison term.
- June 3: Cecilia, Marcel and Zak are found guilty.
- August 12: Evidence in mitigation of sentence for the trio is expected to be heard in the Johannesburg high court.
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
TimesLIVE spoke to people who knew the accused in a bid to understand what led to their deadly actions. Watch our video and read what they told us here: