Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
THE judgment in the case of a soldier who allegedly shot dead his wife, her two siblings and injured his 18-month- old daughter before shooting himself in a failed suicide attempt last year, has been set for today.
Carlos Tinashe Chapeyema (26) who is attached to the Zimbabwe National Army Infantry Battalion Brigade in Battlefields, Kwekwe, is appearing before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese facing three counts of murder and an attempted murder charge.
Chapeyema shot his daughter, Munashe, once on the leg but she survived.
His wife, Ashley Phiri (21) and her siblings, Nkosivumile Ncube (17) and Rita Nkomo (24) died on the spot.
Prosecuting, Mrs Sifiso Ndlovu-Sibanda said last year on February 1, Chapeyema went to his wife’s family house in New Magwegwe suburb in Bulawayo armed with an AK 47 assault rifle, which was loaded with a magazine of 20 rounds.
He knocked at the door ordering his wife to open. When the door was eventually opened the accused person stormed into the house and started firing from his rifle.
“The accused person pointed the firearm at his wife who was carrying their daughter in her arms,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Sibanda. Sensing danger, other occupants in the house, Ms Esther Nkomo and Ms Rose Ncube sneaked out of the house. Chapeyema opened fire and shot Phiri, Rita and Nkosivumile, killing them instantly,” said the prosecutor.
The court heard that in the process of shooting, Chapeyema shot and injured his daughter and she sustained a fracture on her right lower limb before turning the rifle on himself. Chapeyema phoned his brother-in-law informing him about the incident.
A report was made to the police leading to the accused person’s arrest. The weapon used in committing the alleged offences was also recovered at the scene.
In his defence through his lawyer, Chapeyema who is being represented by Mr Shepherd Chamunorwa of Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners, said at the time of the commission of the offence he suffered from diminished responsibility coupled with intoxication.
“I have a history of suffering from uncontrollable bouts of anger emanating from harsh and hostile upbringing which rendered me incapable of considering the consequences of my actions and that contributed to my conduct on that particular day,” he said.
Chapeyema said he got angry after his wife and her siblings revealed to him that he was not the father of his children.
“It was not my intention to kill the deceased persons. I got angry and acted in a reckless manner after my wife and her sisters told me that I was not the father of my children. I then cocked my rifle and opened fire without necessarily directing it at anyone. I was only shocked after realising that I had killed my wife and her siblings,” he said.
“I wish to apologise to the family of the deceased and society at large, I regret my actions.”
Chapeyema told the court that he fled from his workplace with the rifle stashed inside his bag. – @mashnets