Durban - They were only teenagers when they attacked pensioner Errol Stainer, shooting him in the stomach, and then, as he lay dying, driving over him in their attempt to escape in his car.
And now friends Siyabonga Nyanisa and Siboniso Ngcoya, both 20, are facing life imprisonment for the crimes.
Durban High Court Judge Mohini Moodley rejected their protestations of innocence on Thursday and convicted them of murder and robbery.
Stainer, 67, was attacked on August 24, 2012, when he went to his local superette in Sarnia to buy a newspaper.
Evidence was that as he came out of the shop, he was surrounded by three attackers – one with a gun and wearing a blue “hoodie”.
Stainer had his hands up in surrender, but he was shot in the stomach and fell behind the wheels of his Corsa.
The attackers jumped into the car and, in their efforts to get out of the parking lot, reversed over him several times before mounting a pavement, bursting a tyre and speeding off.
About 2km away – with a metro policeman in pursuit – they crashed into a tree stump, abandoned the car and ran, laughing, across the busy M13 highway.
Nyanisa was hit by a car.
As he lay injured at the side of the road, his mother, an ANC councillor in eThekwini, arrived and slapped him across the face.
The other two men fled.
Nyanisa admitted that he had been wearing a blue hoodie that day but said it was “not clothing unique to me”.
He denied having anything to do with the crime, saying he had got up early to look for casual work to help pay for his studies as a motor mechanic.
He said he had taken a short cut across the M13 and had heard footsteps behind him. Fearing he was going to be attacked, he picked up the pace and ran across the road.
He admitted knowing Ngcoya but said he had not seen him for a long time.
But the judge said Nyanisa had been “evasive and dishonest” and the evidence of the State witnesses pointed to the fact that he was the man in the blue hoodie who had shot Stainer and had driven off in his car.
This was corroborated by CCTV footage from a video camera at the parking lot.
“The State has conceded that the stills (taken from the footage) are not clear. But the enhanced image shows his distinguishing features, his prominent lower jaw and eyes. These make him easily identifiable.”
Regarding Ngcoya, the judge ruled as admissible a “pointing out”, in which he described to police what had happened that day and during which the firearm, linked through ballistics to the crime, had been recovered.
She said apart from this, there was other evidence pointing to his guilt.
While Nyanisa had pulled the trigger, she found Ngcoya had acted with common purpose and was also guilty of the murder.
Nyanisa, who has been on bail, was taken into custody and the case was adjourned until the end of next month.