A man who severed a teen’s head to sell it for muti has been sentenced to 22 years in jail.
Sobbing could be heard from the public gallery in Courtroom 2 at the Western Cape High Court yesterday as Aljar Swartz was sentenced to more than two decades for the murder of Ravensmead teen Lee Adams.
The 15-year-old was stabbed numerous times, strangled then decapitated at an abandoned school in October 2013.
Swartz, who had claimed it was a “satanic” killing, planned to sell the head to a sangoma for R5 000.
Lee’s mom, Gaynore Adams, had to be physically supported by family members, as Swartz was led down to the holding cells.
The shattered family believes Swartz deserved a longer jail term.
The court convicted Swartz of one count of murder, and three counts of incitement to commit murder in March this year.
Yesterday, Western Cape High Court Judge Elize Steyn described Swartz as a “heartless individual” who had shown no remorse or compassion, but instead “knew what he was doing and enjoyed it”.
She referred to the evidence of forensic psychologist Major Hayden Nibbs who had testified that he was a “high risk” for re-offending and was a psychopath.
Steyn was not able to impose minimum sentencing legislation as Swartz was 17 years old at the time of the offence.
Instead, she had to apply the Child Justice Act which meant she could not have him declared a dangerous criminal or sentence him to more than 25 years behind bars.
She sentenced him to 22 years, backdated to the day of his arrest on October 20, 2013.
For the Adams family, who were hoping for life, it was a shock.
Gaynore sobbed outside court and was unable to speak to the media. Dad Deon Louw described the sentence as “too little”.
He said his son was a loveable child and the family was battling to cope with the loss.
Community leader David van Wyk said the court failed them: “The court didn’t send out a good message to the community. We are not satisfied. Our community’s not happy with the outcome”
Swartz, who is now 20 years old, showed no emotion as Steyn told him that he alone “has the capacity to reinvent his life”.