The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has handed three of the so-called Krugersdorp killers multiple life sentences in connection with a series of murders and related crimes.
In June, Cecilia Steyn, Marcel Steyn and Zak Valentine were found guilty of several crimes linked to a murder spree which took place in and around Krugersdorp between 2012 and 2016.
The three were part of a group called Electus per Deus (Chosen by God). They murdered 11 people, including Valentine‘s wife Mikeila, in four years.
In delivering his sentence, Judge Ellem Jacob Franci said the accused committed heinous and barbaric crimes.
“The evil deeds committed by the accused were heinous, barbaric and bloodied crimes,” he said.
Francis said the victims died a brutal death from multiple stab and bullet wounds, while one was set alight inside Valentine‘s Mercedes Benz.
“Krugersdorp was struck by a tsunami. [Cecilia] Steyn was the driving force of the tsunami,” he said.
Francis said Cecilia convinced Valentine and Marcel Steyn that the murders committed were being done for biblical reasons.
“It is people who were killed. They were innocent and didn‘t deserve to die.””Valentine claimed he was framed and falsely implicated by witnesses. He regrets assisting Cecilia religiously and financially,” said Francis.
He continued that a probation officer claimed that Marcel could be rehabilitated and has shown remorse. He, however, later disputed that.
“She was 14 and seven months old when the first murder was committed. She passed her matric with six distinctions and would tutor mathematics at a local school. She was exposed to Cecilia while aged 10. She was implicated by her own mother.
“She lacked emotional intelligence. She was exposed to Satanism and violent movies at the age of 10,” said Francis.
He said Marcel was exposed to substance abuse.Francis said all the 11 murdered victims were carefully identified and executed.
“Marcel and Valentine were intelligent and believed all the utter rubbish told by Cecilia. Cecilia destroyed lives of the accused and abused their generosity shown by members of the group.
“She was the mastermind and the only one who benefitted financially. She was driven by personal greed and personal gains. She is a thoroughly evil person and danger to society,” said Francis.The judge as worried about inmates that Cecilia was going to spend time with while serving her sentence.
Marcel‘s mother, former school teacher Marinda Steyn, is serving 11 life terms and 115 years in prison, while her brother, Le Roux Steyn, who was also part of the group, is serving 35 years after he entered into a plea bargain with the State for his role in seven of the murders. Ten years of his sentence were suspended on condition that he testifies at the trial.
Another member of the group, John Barnard, who also testified during the trial, is serving 20 years behind bars, News24 earlier reported.
During arguments in mitigation and aggravation of their sentences, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard that had the mindset of a 10-year-old.
Marcel‘s advocate argued that she was under Cecilia‘s “spell “during the crime spree.
Advocate Sharon Johnson said: “From the time accused number three (Marcel) came into with accused number two (Cecilia) and her mother placed her in her care, up until the time of her arrest and up until she decided to change her version and come clean to the court, accused number three was under the same manipulation, the same control, the same spell and the same state of mind that she was as a 10-year-old child.”
Valentine‘s legal representative made a similar argument last week.
Social worker Annette Vergeer testified that she was not able to verify some information related to Cecilia Steyn‘s upbringing, saying the accused and her mother gave her contradictory evidence.
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