By Karen Breytenbach
A Kenyan missionary and a Paarl handyman appeared in the Paarl magistrate's court on Monday on murder charges following the crucifixion of a Mormon church custodian on Halloween.
Charles Jacobs, 54, longtime custodian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Paarl East, was found in a back room of the church last Monday with his hands tied with electric cord, a deep wound to his left side, lashes to his body and cuts around his head, where his shorts were fastened like a crown. The word "Satun" was written on the floor, apparently in his blood.
Two DVD players and Jacobs's cellphone had been stolen from a cupboard.
Selwyn Adonis, 35, a handyman from Paarl East and Ewans Marani, 28, a Kenyan law student, missionary and former elder in Jacobs's church, briefly appeared before magistrate Genie Jacobs, who postponed the case until November 14 for the two accused to apply for bail.
A former employer of Adonis claimed he convinced him last week to hand himself over to the police, after a rumour spread that he was being sought for the theft of the DVD players.
Marani has lived legally in the country for the past two years and is married to a South African woman, from whom he recently became estranged.
"He was expelled from the church when my brother found out he didn't have papers to prove that he was an elder," claimed the victim's brother, Ivor Jacobs.
Although Marani said he had a lawyer, he told the magistrate he would apply for legal aid.
The two suspects are being kept at Allandale Prison. A Paarl police spokesperson said an eight-man task team, led by Superintendent Jason Cysters of Paarl police, were conducting "intensive investigations" and more suspects may be arrested.
"The suspects were arrested very soon, thanks to help from the community and good follow-up work by the police," the spokesperson said. "This is not an occult murder," she added.
The KiSwahili-speaking Kenyan looked calm and attentive as the magistrate asked him if he would be able to follow the proceedings in English.
Although he answered that he could speak 11 languages and spoke English fluently, the magistrate suggested that a KiSwahili be interpreter be appointed.
The tall, thin Adonis looked around nervously as his attorney, Chris Nel, whispered in his ear.
As the cuffed men were ushered downstairs to the court cells, Marani, who used to be a friend of the Jacobs family, turned to face them where they were sitting in the gallery.
One of Jacobs' sisters exclaimed: "That's right, face me, look me in the eye."
Ivor Jacobs held his sister Sharon Wyngaard in his arms and shielded her from the media as everyone left the courtroom. "Thank you for your concern, but our family feels exhausted by the media's attention," he said politely to the throng of journalists.