By Mary Taruvinga
A WEDZA man Tapiwa Murombo has been sentenced to death for murdering his employer over a debt dispute.
The sentence was handed by a High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa following Murombo’s conviction over the murder of Partson Musarandoga.
He was found guilty in 2015.
In delivering, her sentence the judge said Murombo failed to exonerate himself from the offense, and evidence produced in court weighed heavily against him.
The court proved that after killing his employer, Murombo wrote a suicide letter purporting to be Musarandoga.
In the fake letter, Musarandoga was said to have told his family to give Murombo a tonne of maize and 25 liters of diesel to cover up for the money owed.
Musarandoga’s body was found dumped at Rhodesdale dam a few days after he went missing.
Police immediately started investigations leading to the arrest of Murombo following a high-speed car chase along the Harare-Chirundu highway.
In court, Murombo pleaded not guilty to the charge, arguing he had parted ways with Musarandoga cordially after the two settled a US$4 000 tillage debt owed to him in exchange for a Toyota Vitz.
However, according to the state, on August 21, 2015, Murombo axed Musarandoga on the head at a farm situated along the Wedza road.
He then stole Musarandoga’s vehicle.
The state proved after committing the murder, Murombo went on to forge a suicide note with contents directing him to get proceeds from selling the deceased’s tonne of maize, diesel, and a car battery.
Murombo then disappeared to an unknown location before the deceased’s son called him looking for his father.
The court heard that Murombo provided two different addresses in Rusape to the deceased’s son where he claimed Musarandoga had relocated to with his new wife.
Murombo switched off his mobile phone before proceeding to Kariba to buy kapenta fish for resale.
However, after a tip-off, police officers from the Homicide Section pursued Murombo along the Harare-Chirundu highway where they shot him on his leg when he tried to escape.
The deceased’s particulars and a Nokia Asha 303 phone were found in Murombo’s possession.
He was later taken for indications at Rhodesdale dam in Wedza where Musarandoga’s body was found.
In her ruling, the judge said; “The court finds that the reasons advanced are not such as to convince the court not to pass the death sentence. In essence, after taking all factors into account, this court finds that there are no circumstances of a mitigating nature that would call for a lesser sentence.
“Neither a life sentence nor a sentence of not less than 20 years will meet the justice of the case. Thus, in the absence of any meaningful reasons advanced by the accused as to why the death sentence should not be imposed upon him, and the accused not being in the group that is excluded by s 48(2)(c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) from receiving a death sentence, the accused is sentenced to death,” she said.
“The accused shall be returned to prison to be held until the execution of the sentence according to law.”