Two white South African farmers, who were convicted of murder for the killing of Matlhomola Mosweu, a 16-year old Black South African teen they allegedly caught stealing sunflowers worth $5, have been sentenced to about two decades in prison.
Pieter Doorewaard, who is 28-years old, and Phillip Schutte, who is 35-years old, were reportedly sentenced to 18 and 23 years in prison respectively for murder, kidnapping, and other charges about five months after they were convicted at a trial in October 2018.
Doorewaard and Schutte claimed they caught Mosweu stealing sunflowers in a remote farming area in April 2017. They said when they were transporting him to the police station, he jumped out of their moving van resulting in his death.
However, it was eventually found out that they threw Mosweu from the moving truck, causing him to break his neck and die shortly after.
“Murder is undoubtedly the most serious offense that can be committed,” North West High Court Judge Ronald Hendricks said during the sentencing on Wednesday. “You picked up the deceased and threw him from the van onto the ground. Your actions that day were indeed disgraceful.”
Although the murder was not premeditated, as Hendricks noted, the men must have expected that throwing Mosweu from the moving truck could cause his death.
Meanwhile, the killing sparked riots and burning of several businesses and homes of white people in the city of Coligny. Police had to be deployed inside the court at the sentencing to ensure order