Satanic Killer Gets Life Sentence


Jan Hendrik Brandt (18) who already admitted to the murder of Maria Crouse(75) in the village of Hofmeyr on July 12 2000, was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Bonisile Sandi in the Grahamstown High Court yesterday.

Attorney Mike McCallum, acting for Brandt was granted a right of appeal to a full bench of the Grahamstown division of the High Court, claiming that there were extenuating circumstances attendant on Brandt's actions which rendered inappropriately harsh the penalty of life-imprisonment.

In yesterday's hearing Judge Sandi reviewed the evidence already before the court of the circumstances and events which led to the murder by Brandt of Crouse in what appeared to be part of a Satanist sacrificial rite.

The judge outlined Brandt's early childhood of instability, misguided parenting, financial straits, of failed efforts of correctional institutions to modify a deepening pattern of sociopathic behaviour by Brandt, who entered an underworld of deviant conduct characterised by violence, alcohol and drug abuse and dabbling in diabolic cults. Brandt admitted in earlier hearings that when he took up employment in Port Elizabeth - employment from which he was dismissed after a month for allegedly assaulting a co-worker- he became involved in a satanist coven.

It was then that Brandt immersed himself in satanist beliefs and actions; allegedly involved in kidnapping children, dismembering their bodies, drinking their blood and using their bones for occult rituals, and indulging in orgiastic sexual rites.

Brandt told the court that if he wished to be elevated to the status of high-priest in the coven he had to carry out the murder of his father, who then resided in Hofmeyr.

He told how he had hitch-hiked to Hofmeyr , stopping off in Cradock to purchase a 10cm- blade fist knife to carry out the sacrificial killing.

Once in Hofmeyr Brandt changed his mind about murdering his father and he then went to the home of Maria Crouse who admitted him to her home to give him domestic recipes which Brandt said his mother wanted. Brandt carried out the knife attack on Crouse, placed the knife in her hand so as to suggest that a suicide had occured, and then he went to Queenstown where he was arrested a few days later. Attorney Mike McCallum , in his request that the case be referred to an appeal court said that there were circumstances which needed to be given further consideration in punishing Brandt.

McCallum said that when Brandt went to the home of Crouse it was not his intention to murder her but to carry out a robbery . There was evidence that since his arrest Brandt had shown remorse in that he had confessed to the murder, admitted his guilt. During the months of his incarceration at Waaihoek he had turned away satanism and sincerely accepted Christian faith, and that would clearly indicate that Brandt could be rehabilitated within the correctional system. McCallum pointed out that Brandt's early childhood he had had been gone "from pillar to post" in circumstances not conducive to the development of strong social or personal values.

Judge Sandi granted the appeal and Brandt would be kept in the custody of the state until the appeal could be heard in three months time.