Johannesburg - One of the accused claimed he had been “overtaken by a foreign power” – a “demon”. And the other claimed dousing Kirsty Theologo with petrol and setting her alight in an alleged satanic ritual had been “God’s will”.
But on Tuesday Johannesburg High Court Judge Geraldine Borchers tore apart Lindon Wagner and Robin Harwood’s claims, saying that, in fact, distancing themselves from the October 2011 crime indicated the pair were not remorseful.
This was during arguments in mitigation of the sentencing – expected to be delivered on Wednesday morning in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.
“How can you be remorseful if you don’t accept guilt?” Judge Borchers asked, directing her question at defence lawyer Lydia van Niekerk.
This came after Van Niekerk put it to the court that her client, Wagner, was sorry for what he had done.
Wagner and Harwood were found guilty last year of Kirsty’s murder and the attempted murder of a friend of hers, who was 14 years old at the time.
The two schoolgirls had been with the duo at a hill in Linmeyer, Joburg, when the incident happened.
Kirsty died in hospital from severe burns to her body a week after the attack.
Van Niekerk said Wagner had from the onset known what he was doing, but could not control himself. “He was overtaken by a foreign power,” she said.
State prosecutor Carina Coetzee added to the judge’s scepticism, reminding the court that the accused had chosen to lay the blame on something other than themselves.
She said Harwood had said the killing was God’s will, while Wagner blamed the incident on a demon – a force other than himself.
“Their remorse is situated in them feeling sorry for themselves going to jail,” she said.
But Van Niekerk said Wagner had been co-operative, and even though he had pleaded not guilty, he also admitted to the things he did not remember doing but the others involved said he did.
“What choice did he have?” asked the judge, saying Wagner had to admit to his actions at the police station.
Van Niekerk said Wagner could not understand why he did what he did.
“He chose to say what he said,” said Judge Borchers.
The defence argued further that Wagner was not an intellectual as he had only finished Grade 9, to which Judge Borchers said there was no need for intellect when one chose to be not guilty.
Van Niekerk argued that Wagner was remorseful and had continued to show it as he was no longer using drugs.
“This is an indication of his knowledge of what drugs can do,” she said.
She said Wagner had been attending Bible study in jail and wanted to complete his matric.
Judge Borchers interjected, saying she hoped Wagner stayed away from the Book of Revelations, as that was the reason they found themselves in the position they were in.
Sentencing was set to be heard on Wednesday.