Mom forgives newly-weds’ killers
Cape Town - The mother of a woman who was murdered along with her husband just two weeks after the couple’s wedding has forgiven the killers after two of the gunmen were wiped out and the main state witness was killed.
Leonardo and Shannon Fortune were shot and killed in December 2015 outside their home in Ocean View, an area affected by gang violence.
A third victim, Kim Roberts, 35, was wounded and died in hospital a day later.
Now Shannon’s mother, 64, who asked not to be identified, said after one of the main suspects was killed last month the case had totally collapsed. It was pointless living with hatred in her heart, so she has chosen to forgive her daughter’s killers.
One of the main suspects, Tyron “Hunter” Taylor, was stabbed multiple times and died in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, last month.
Taylor along with three other suspects, Taswell Koopman, Mario Present and Carl Barendilla, were arrested days after the shooting and appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court.
The group were released barely a year later after the main state witness, Shileen “Linkie” Jacobs, was believed to have been assassinated in 2016.
Jacobs was expected to take the witness stand against the four suspects, who were allegedly members of the Junky Funky Kids (JFK) gang in Ocean View.
Barendilla was murdered soon after his release.
Court officials confirmed the State had withdrawn the case after the main state witness was killed.
Shannon worked for a supermarket while Leonardo was a fisherman.
The mother has now buried all three of her children. Her son, Patrick May, died of lung cancer in 2009. This was followed by Shannon’s murder in 2015. Then her son, Dorian Philander, died of cancer nine months after the murder.
“I was very sad and devastated after the main witness was killed and even now we are not safe as a family,” she said.
“The witness was murdered while they were inside prison, then they were set free.
“Then I had to face them in the street. I had to walk past Tyron and he would make remarks. I went to the police and they said I must just ignore him. No one helped. How did I feel as a mother … this man was one of the people who killed my daughter and her husband.
“There was no justice and there will be no justice because now two of the suspects are dead. But I have forgiven them ... I could not carry hatred in my heart.”
A group of South African actors, including Christo Davids and Sandra Prinsloo, recently visited the victims’s family as part of their research for a theatrical production on the rehabilitation of ex-convicts.
The mother said she spoke to Prinsloo and former 7de Laan star Davids of her loss.
“They were interested in the case and asked how I would receive the suspects if they came to me. I said I have already forgiven them,” she said.
Davids said they were doing research for a theatrical production on how ex-convicts needed to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society to form a relationship with families like that of the victims.
“We are trying to heal the community through theatre production,” said Davids.
“It is not about us giving advice but to show people like this family that they are not alone.
“It was for research for theatre education on how someone who has been released from prison is received by the community and the ex-convict’s responsibility when he goes back to the community and to the family.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said Taylor’s killer was still at large.
The area has become volatile in recent months while a gang war wages between the Taylor gang and the JFKs. Crime fighters reveal the bloodshed is over turf and revenge with at least three people wounded and three killed in two months in Ocean View.
Ocean View’s Paul Francke who has been part of interventions to end gang violence, said the shootings had increased in the past two months.
He confirmed rival gangs were fighting over turf.
“They shoot every day. On Wednesday while children were walking to school they opened fire,” he said.
“There is no such thing as peace or a ceasefire here. The gang wars continue. Last week they petrol bombed a house in Libra Street.”
Libra Street is where seven-year-old Emaan Solomons was shot and killed while playing in her front yard last February.
Her alleged killers, Eben Basson and Chivargo Fredericks, who are alleged members of the JFK and 27s gangs, are facing pre-trial proceedings in the Western Cape High Court.