A Mahalapye murder convict who has been in jail for almost 20 years was this week granted a presidential pardon by President Ian Khama.
He was freed this Tuesday before Francistown high court judge Lot Moroka.
Liberty Mhlanga, 36, was found guilty but insane on 15 serious offences on the 26th September 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The offences are two murders where he killed Sylvester Masule and Gabotlhapiwe Phokoletso.
Mhlanga was also found guilty of attempted murder, burglary and many counts of unlawful possession of an arm.
He was taken into custody on August 15, 1999 as a criminal lunatic and detained at Lobatse Mental Hospital.
In 2001 he plotted his escape to South Africa with another inmate.
They later handed themselves in and were taken into custody in South Africa before being repatriated back to Botswana two months later.
He was convicted for escaping after pleading guilty and immediately transferred to Gaborone maximum state prison.
The mental health board took into consideration that the applicant had spent a considerable time in custody and had undergone extensive rehabilitation.
The board also stated that he was in custody at the age of 17, had a history of abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs , left school at Standard Five and that he was now mature and regretful of his behavior as a teenager and the crimes committed.
It thus recommended that the applicant be released and given a second chance at life.
In an interview with The Voice outside court Mhlanga could not hide excitement.
“I am extremely happy as I never thought I would one day be a free man. I got in prison in 1999 after killing my girlfriend for cheating on me. I regret doing that and I have learnt that crime does not pay,” said Mhlanga, breathing free air for the first time in over 18 years.