Man found guilty of murdering young man in front of his relatives

13 August 2020 - 20:20 By ERNEST MABUZA
The high court has found Jerome Kiviets guilty of the 2018 murder of 21-year-old Selwyn April.
The high court has found Jerome Kiviets guilty of the 2018 murder of 21-year-old Selwyn April.

The high court in Port Elizabeth on Thursday found Jerome Kiviets, 26, guilty of the October 2018 murder of 21-year-old Selwyn April.

Judge Nyameko Gqamana also found Kiviets guilty of attempting to kill April's relatives, Basheera Trompetter and Johannes Deslinay Trompetter.

On the night of October 6 2018 in Kleinskool, Port Elizabeth, April and a number of his relatives were looking for a place to purchase liquor. They met Kiviets and Christo Gouws. April’s group asked the two whether they knew of any taverns that were open at that time.

The court heard that instead of helping, Gouws swore at the group. This led to a verbal altercation between him and April.

Gouws then asked Kiviets for a firearm, which he allegedly used to fatally shoot April.

April’s relatives, among them the Trompetter siblings, scrambled for safety.

The next morning, the Trompetters went back to the crime scene and saw Kiviets, Gouws and another unknown man removing clothing items from the deceased.

Kiviets noticed the siblings and started firing at them. They escaped unharmed.

Police arrested Gouws and Kiviets on the same day.

Gouws, 47, has since died from natural causes while awaiting trial at St Albans correctional facility.

Kiviets stood trial alone and pleaded not guilty on various counts, including murder and attempted murder.

Prosecutor Mark Driman told the court that April's murder was another act of senseless violence in the infamous northern areas of PE.

"Another young man in the prime of his life robbed of his most basic human right, the right to life. Another mother will now only visit another gravesite with flowers," he said

"Selwyn April decided to place his final-year engineering studies on hold to go and work to assist his single mother.

"May the court not deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment."

Gqamana said that "the version of the accused is riddled with improbabilities. He spiced up his version as he went along. He was economical with the truth".

Kiviets was further found guilty of theft, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

The case was postponed until next Wednesday August 19 for sentencing.