Man accused of PE toddler's murder denies gang affiliation
PORT ELIZABETH - A man who allegedly supplied a gun to a fellow gang member to take out his nemesis on Friday denied his involvement in the crime which subsequently saw the murder of two-year-old Hakeem Baartman.
Testifying under cross-examination in the Port Elizabeth High Court, Maxwell Muller said that his co-accused, Marshall Thomas, who implicated him in a confession statement, was “trying to get him into trouble”.
Both Thomas and Muller have been charged with the toddler's murder in November 2017.
According to the State, Baartman was walking with his uncle in Helenvale, in an area called “Die Gat”, when the shooting incident unfolded on November 18, 2017.
The toddler was killed while Dimitri Guest, 17, sustained a gunshot wound to the neck.
Muller allegedly supplied the gun to Thomas who tried to shoot and kill Guest.
The State alleges that Guest was sitting on the steps of a house in Hartebees Street in Helenvale when Thomas approached from an open field and started shooting at him.
Guest was allegedly the target and when he ran into the street, Thomas continued firing at him. The toddler was hit in the head by a stray bullet.
Thomas has also been charged with the attempted murder of the toddler’s uncle, Ashley Baartman, who was with the child at the time of the shooting.
On the stand on Friday, Muller denied that he was arrested at a house where drugs were sold by a police constable.
Previous evidence led by State witnesses indicate that Muller lived at the house and on the day of the killing, Thomas had gone to the drug post where Muller supplied him with a gun.
Muller said he was not affiliated to the ‘Dondolo’ gang and he did not know about a drug house in the area.
He claimed that he had visited the house on one occasion to buy liquor.
Muller also claimed he was oblivious as to why rival gang members shot at him in the past.
The trial continues.
African News Agency (ANA)