Plea offers for murder accused trio rejected

LAWYERS representing three of the four suspects charged with the rape, murder and
robbery of 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger have rejected the State’s offer of a plea agreement for their clients.

This emerged during Monday's appearance when all four of the accused linked with the teenager's murder – Howard Oliver, Jerome Moses, Jonathan Jonas and Daniel Easter – appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.

Franziska Blöchliger. Credit: Facebook

It was expected that the State and defence lawyers would announce details of a plea agreement, but lawyers for Oliver, Moses and Easter said they were not happy with what the State had offered their clients.

Meanwhile, discussions between the State and lawyers for Jonas were continuing. The proposed plea agreement was not disclosed.

Oliver's attorney, Monique Carstens, said they had opted for a trial and would apply for bail during the next court appearance.

“The battle that we are going to fight is that it is going to be a schedule six bail application. In a schedule five, the onus rests with the accused to convince the court why he needs to get bail. Schedule six is even more than that.

"He will need to convince the court why he needs to be granted bail and will need to prove exceptional circumstances. We believe we have definite exceptional circumstances which the court 
cannot ignore,” she said.

Oliver and Jonas have been charged with the teenager's murder, rape and aggravated robbery, while Easter and Moses were allegedly involved in the sale of her cellphone, according to Carstens.

In April, Jonas had indicated through his legal representative that he was abandoning his bail application.

Moses’s lawyer, Kevin Pietersen, said: “Negotiations are ongoing. We could not finalise them before today.”

Blöchliger was found murdered in March after she had separated from her mother and sister to go for a run in Tokai Forest. Her body was discovered about 200m from the point where she and her mother had agreed to meet. She had been robbed of her iPhone and watch.

According to the autopsy report, she had been suffocated, with ligature marks around her neck indicating she had been throttled.

The State asked for the 
matter to be postponed to November 23 for indictment.