Novella guilty of girlfriend's gruesome murder in plush hotel
Cape Town - Guatemalan national Diego Novella has been found guilty of the murder of his then-girlfriend, Gabriela Kabrins Alban, in the Cape High Court a short while ago.
In delivering judgement, judge Vincent Saldanha said he did not believe the defence's version that Novella was possessed by a demon when he killed Kabrins Alban on July 29, 2015, at the Camps Bay Retreat hotel.
Novella is accused of murdering his American marketing executive girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins Alban, after her body was discovered in the room she was sharing with Novella at a boutique hotel in Camps Bay on July 29, 2015. She was strangled and had suffered blunt force trauma.
Alban's face was covered with chips and faeces. A note had been left on her body with the Spanish word “cerote” written on it, which means "piece of s**t". Earlier in the trial, a fingerprint expert testified that Novella’s fingerprint was found on the note.
Novella was arrested a few hours after hotel staff found Alban’s body.
Novella has been adamant that he was protecting himself against the demonic entity which he claimed possessed Alban and himself in their hotel room after they ingested a cocktail of drugs.
The trial has been running for 120 court days and the emotional toll was clearly visible on the faces of the deceased's parents.
The accused claimed that the demonic possession happened after the couple ingested a cocktail of drugs the night before the murder took place and that his mind had been "hijacked".
Novella testified that he and Kabrins Alban consumed cannabis, cannabis oil and scelletium and that this resulted in his "altered" state of mind.
Sentencing is expected to be heard in August but the first arguments in aggravation and mitigation will be heard on August 7.
Weekend Argus and ANA