By CHIKUMBI KATEBE
A LUSAKA HIGH Court judge yesterday sentenced Precious Longwe to hang for murdering her husband Lubinda Akakanda Litebele in cold blood when she shot him three times at point blank range in the early hours of 25th May, 2016.
High Court Justice Sharon Newa, delivering judgment in a packed court, said the State had proved its case beyond doubt that Longwe (31) killed Mr Litebebele, also 31, when she shot him three times at close range, resulting in six fatal gunshot entry and exit wounds in the chest and abdomen.
Ms Justice Newa said through her action, Longwe demonstrated that she was moved into committing the crime owing to her husband’s efforts in trying to make her do the right thing.
The judge dismissed Longwe’s testimony that her husband had the gun and that they struggled for the firearm. She said this was neither here nor there as the position of the sofa he was lying on and where the body was discovered after the shooting could not add up.
The judge said Longwe, of Woodlands in Lusaka, had the gun and evidence from the crime scene proved that there was no struggle for the gun as claimed by the defendant.
Ms Justice Newa said expert testimony from the pathologist indicated that the shooting was at close range which resulted in the six gunshot wounds, including a raptured heart.
The judge said Longwe confirmed in her defence that she was upset with her husband that he called her parents to register his disappointment that she refused to come back home with him that night after a drinking spree.
Mr Litebele arrived home after midnight with his elder brother as his wife had refused to leave a friend’s birthday outing that saw the accused in different night clubs and drinking spots across Lusaka. “She killed her husband because he phoned her parents to tell them that their daughter had refused to come back home with him, as supported by a text message evidence she sent to him where she clearly said ‘you will pay for this’.
“The court cannot allow that if you are corrected, you can kill. The prosecution have proved their case before the court and I find you guilty of the murder of Akakanda Litebele and therefore I convict you accordingly,” she said.
Longwe, looked composed and unmoved during the three-hour judgment in the fully packed courtroom with both families duly represented.
The judge said Longwe’s defence that her reaction was as a result of provocation and intoxication as she had been drinking all night was inadmissible because the accused seemed to be in control of all her faculties leading to the shooting incident.
Ms Justice Newa said there was no probable indication to provoke her to the extent of resorting to the use of extreme measures which could justify her killing him.
The court charged that even the excuse that she was drunk and therefore did not know what was happening was false because in her defence, Longwe explained that she remembered to check on her sleeping children and also secured the house before going to the sitting room where she found her husband lying on a couch.
That testimony alone indicated that she was well aware of her surroundings up to the time of the shooting and arrest.
“Because the gun used was a semi-automatic weapon and can only be fired one at a time, the evidence that three cartridges and three projectiles were recovered near the body was adequate to incriminate her.
“The accused had intension to kill the deceased when she sent the maid home at 03 hrs in the morning, something she had never done before, and when she shot her husband three times at close range…. “This rules out accidental shooting because when she shot him once, she could have stopped, but instead she continued to shoot him three times, hence killing him instantly,” she said.
The couple had been married for over six years and had two children, both below four years of age.