Satanism No Excuse For Murder Says Prosecutor

It is unfortunate that offenders from a particular section of society can get away with painting a sad picture of their personal circumstances, state prosecutor Nico Henning said in the Grahamstown High Court yesterday (subs: thurs). In final arguments in the sentencing of self-confessed satinist and killer Jan Hendrik Brandt, 18, Henning said that records about the personal circumstances of young, white offenders are easily available but that the same could not be said of offenders from the rural areas.

He said that, although Brandt's background was sad and tragic, it was by no means unique.

According to him Brand "exaggerated" the influence of the cult in his killing of 75-year-old Maria Crouse because he was well aware of the consequences of his actions when he joined voluntarily.

He argued that Brandt's youthfulness and background was not sufficiently compelling, that the interests of society should take preference over those of Brandt and that, consequently, the minimum sentence of life for the murder should be handed down.

"Someday I too will become a lawyer!" shouted Brandt, who had to be calmed down by a court orderly during a break in proceedings. Sentencing was remanded to 9 April.

Advocate Mike McCallum appeared for Brand while Judge Bonisile Sandi presided.