Co-accused to decide whether to withdraw or not
Suspected murderers of Kgosi Kesegofetse Patelelo of Mopipi village in the central district have pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
The duo, 54-year-old widow of the deceased Seoneni Patelelo and her co-accused; and suspected boyfriend, 65-year old Peter Forbes made the plea despite having allegedly confessed to the crime back in 2017 following the gruesome discovery of the late chief’s battered body which was found on the dusty streets of the village.
The two are planning to challenge the confession because according to them, the statements were not properly extracted by investigators.
While Seoneni’s attorney wants to question whether her confession statement is admissible before court or not, Forbes’ attorney told court that he just “May” challenge his client’s statement after studying other filed affidavits.
However, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) said that in order to prove that indeed the duo committed the said crime, prosecution will provide documentary evidence including the confession statements among others.
Among the witnesses who have already testified in court is 34-year old Chandada Baothodi who witnessed the police extract a confession statement from Forbes in July 2017.
“He [Forbes) told the police that he travelled from Francistown and arrived in Mopipi at night, around 10 or 11. The whole way he said he was communicating with Mma Patelelo (Seoneni) and after arrival she told him to park his car next to a tree, near the yard. She then instructed him to knock on the door and wait for the chief to come out,” said Baothodi.
Forbes is said to have further alleged that when the door opened, Seoneni tripped her husband and he fell face down hitting the ground with his forehead, According to his own confession, he swiftly grabbed the fallen man with both hands from the back while the woman covered his mouth and nose with something and when he became unconscious they pulled him into the house. He said he could not tell whether she covered him with a cloth as it was dark and the only light was from the television.
However before Baothodi completed his testimony, the defence counsel objected and said that the evidence which relied heavily of Forbes alleged confession was not admissible and the court adjourned to the next day.
The following morning the judge ruled that Baothodi’s evidence, which relied heavily on Forbes alleged confession was not admissible.
Patelelo’s brutally assaulted body was found dumped by the roadside near Mopipi Junior secondary school on the morning of June, 29th, 2017. He allegedly sustained injuries to his forehead and was found lying on his back wearing a trouser,a t-shirt and one shoe.
Meanwhile below is a sequence of alleged events that took place leading to Patelelo’s demise.
Two weeks before June 29, 2017
Seonei approaches her husband’s co-worker, Kgosi Gowinnemang Mathare 55, and complains that her husband is not treating her well. She says her husband is cheating and has a child out of wedlock with a Tirelo Sechaba lady. The husband admits it and counter accuses the wife of equally having an extra marital affair with a “mixed race” man. He says if the wife admits and confesses the things that she has been doing to him, then he would forgive her and there will be peace at home.
Kgosi Patelelo sells cattle to a butcher who is also his cousin, Edwin Kealeboga (57) and he is to collect payment later.
A few days later Seonei’s son comes to the butchery to enquire about the sale and demand to be given the money. Kealeboga turns him down. Later Seonei calls Kealeboga and demands to be given the cattle sale payment, Kealeboga refuses and tells her he will only give payment to the seller.
JUNE 15, 2017
Seoneni allegedly calls BK Coffins, a funeral insurance company to enquire whether or not her husband’s funeral policy was up to date. She was told the policy was in arrears and she promised to clear the outstanding balance within a short period of time.
JUNE 21, 2017
Seoneni makes another call to BK coffins promising that she will surely come to settle the debt and that she could not come to their offices as she was not well at the time.
FEW DAYS LATER
Seonei meets the butcher at the kgotla. He informs her that he has paid her husband for the cattle. Seonei responds, “‘Monna yo o tsile go mpona hela, ga itse gore go na le banna ba ba nkeletsang ba maemo go feta ene,” loosely translated to say “This man will see me , he does not know that there are men in higher positions than him, who desire me.”
Seonei comes to Kgosi Mathare’s office round 10 in the morning and reports that her husband has sold cattle and spent money on his own. Mathare advises her to tell his elders and return to him if there was no solution. Seoneni says she has complained to them before and that the elders did not take her seriously, but she promises to report to them anyway.
In the afternoon, Mathare finds Patelelo chatting with some people outside a local bar, they exchange pleasantry and part ways.
Peter Forbes allegely travels over night to and from Mopipi village
Patelelo is found dead next to the road leading to Mopipi Junior secondary school. Police suspect foul play as he allegedly had injuries and blood on his face and was putting on one shoe.
The matter was adjourned on Wednesday to give way for a trial within the trial regarding whether or not the accused person’s confession statements have to admitted as evidence on the main case. The matter returns to court on June, 07th, 2024 for status hearing with trial expected to resume in August 5th 2024.