Plea in NIMT murder case
Accused claims innocence on five charges
19 February 2020 | Crime
Austrian-born Ernst Lichtenstrasser appeared in the Swakopmund magistrate's court earlier this week.
Prosecutor Johannes Shangadi said that the police investigation into the sensational double murder case had been completed and that all the necessary DNA analyses were now available.
Lichtenstrasser was asked to make a plea in the presence of his lawyer Trevor Brockerhoff.
“This is not a negotiation. After the plea, the case will be handed to the prosecutor, who will then make a decision on how to proceed,” Judge Nelao Brown said.
Although Lichtenstrasser confessed shortly after his arrest in April 2019, not only admitting to the murder of NIMT managing director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig, and disclosing previously unknown details, the accused dismissed all allegations on Monday, pleading not guilty on the five charges he faces, namely for the double murder, illegal possession of weapons or ammunition, theft and obstruction of justice.
The case was adjourned to 30 April, when the attorney general’s decision on the matter should be available. Until then Lichtenstrasser remains in custody in the Windhoek central prison.
Lichtenstrasser was arrested in April 2019 after allegedly executing the NIMT executives in front of the main entrance of the training facility in Arandis. Police assume the motive was the many disagreements between the accused and Mueller.
After the fact, Lichtenstrasser is said to have spent two days in the desert where he buried the alleged murder weapon and some cartridges.
Lichtenstrasser was last brought to the magistrate's court in December 2019 under strict police surveillance.
The case was adjourned until Tuesday this week for further investigation. For an unknown reason, the date had been pushed forward by one day.