Johannesburg - Lindon Wagner, found guilty Kirsty Theologo's murder, had a troubled childhood and was rejected by his father, the High Court in Johannesburg sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
Lydia van Niekerk, for Wagner, said the rejection Wagner suffered during his childhood when he tried to reach out to his father had a serious impact on him.
Wagner started taking drugs from an early age, became an addict, and had a long history of drug abuse.
“That was his coping mechanism,” she said.
Wagner, 24, was 21 at the time of the murder.
Judge Geraldine Borchers asked Van Niekerk whether Wagner's age diminished his sense of responsibility in the light of the murder.
Van Niekerk said the rejection Wagner experienced made him surround himself with “wrong” crowds.
She said there was no evidence her client exerted pressure on anyone or took a leading role at the time of the incident.
“It was a spur of the moment thing when he did such, and had no control over himself. There was, however, no premeditation to commit the act, and he is sorry,” she said.
Borchers asked how Wagner could be sorry while he did not accept guilt for his actions.
Van Niekerk said Wagner did not understand why he committed the murder and that he had no motive.
Wagner had a previous conviction for housebreaking at the age of 16.
Cousins Wagner and Robin Harwood were found guilty for their part in the murder of Theologo as well as attempted murder and assault.
Theologo and her friend, who was 14 at the time and may not be named, were assaulted, doused with petrol and set alight in a Satanic “soul-selling” ritual on a hill in Linmeyer, Johannesburg, in October 2011.
Theologo died in hospital of her injuries a week later. Her friend survived the attack.
Initially six people were charged for Theologo's killing and the attempted murder of her friend.
Harvey Isha was acquitted of all charges in November. Courtney Daniels, 18, was convicted of common assault for lacing the victims' drinks with brake fluid prior to the attack.
She was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for five years.
Two other men, Lester Moody and Jeremy King, confessed to the killing and were sentenced to 17 years behind bars, five of which were suspended. - Sapa