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Cape Town -
Sentencing proceedings against convicted killer Johannes Christiaan de Jager were postponed by the Western Cape High Court on Monday.
De Jager's lawyer Sakkie Maartens said he was involved in another matter that was due to start later on Monday and was therefore unavailable.
“The idea was to provisionally postpone until today to determine a suitable date to finalise the matter,” he told Acting Judge Chuma Cossie.
“The request for a postponement is also to afford me more time to investigate further mitigating arguments and to prepare to make submissions to this court.”
De Jager, 49, dressed in a tracksuit top and jeans, will remain in custody until May 22.
He seemed relaxed and chatted with Maartens before the court was in session.
Last week, he was convicted of killing 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008 and 16-year-old Charmaine Mare last year.
At the time, Cossie rejected his version of events as wholly inconceivable and described him as “insensitive” and “unremorseful”.
She said the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that he had raped Alexander vaginally and anally before strangling her.
His DNA was found on swabs taken from under Alexander's nails.
The State had also proven beyond reasonable doubt that De Jager killed Mare, dismembered her body and stole her cellphone.
During his trial, De Jager stuck to his version that he had grabbed Mare in the bathroom last January because she was taking her time and she then slipped and fell.
He claimed she hit her upper body or head on the rim of the bath and never regained consciousness.
He testified that he had dismembered her body and burned the torso because he was shocked and confused.
Cossie said the way in which De Jager had burned the corpse indicated there was a deliberate attempt to conceal the evidence.
“The explanation that was given to the court as to why he set the body alight was that he wanted to get rid of the body.
“That is very gruesome to say the least, for a person who had no intention to kill anyone.”
Cossie accepted De Jager's guilty plea with regards to dismembering Mare's arms and legs and a lesser charge of stealing her cellphone. - Sapa