Friends and family stand trial for gruesome Krugersdorp killing spree

Two of the five so-called Krugersdorp murderers want to negotiate plea bargain agreements with the state, it emerged in the High Court in Johannesburg today.

As a result, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng postponed the case till next month.

Cecilia Steyn (37), Zak Valentine (33), Marinda Steyn (51), her son Le Roux Steyn (22) and daughter Marcel (20) appeared in court this morning on 32 charges, including murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft, fraud, intimidation and gangsterism.

The group is accused of murdering 11 people between 2012 and 2016. The killings reportedly started when Cecilia Steyn, who claims to be a child psychologist, fell out with the pastor of their church, Overcomers Through Christ.

She allegedly carried out the killings with her close friend, high school teacher Marinda Steyn and insurance broker Valentine. Marinda’s children Le Roux and Marcel, who is said to be a straight-A student, are also accused of being involved in the murders.

Mokgoatlheng postponed the case to next month as two of the five accused want to make plea bargain agreements with the state. It’s not clear which two of the accused it is.

John Barnard (42), another accused, was sentenced to an effective 20 years in jail on 14 December 2016, after pleading guilty to 13 charges in total, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He will appear as a witness for the state.

A trail of bloody murders

July 2012: Church member Natacha Burger (33) and her neighbor Joyce Bonzaaier (68) are stabbed to death in Centurion.

August 2012: Pastor Reginald Bendixen (75) is stabbed and hacked to death with an axe in Honeydew.

October 2012: Valentine’s wife, Mikeila (25) is found stabbed to death in her bedroom at the couple’s townhouse in Ruimsig on the West Rand, reportedly for not supporting her husband and friends in their alleged murder plot. According to TimesLive, “police said her blood and intestines were splattered on the ceiling”.

November 2015: Krugersdorp couple Peter (51) and Joan Meyer (47), John Barnard’s employers, are found stabbed to death in their lounge in Noordheuwel‚ Krugersdorp. Barnard later confesses the group targeted the couple because they kept millions of rand in cash in their safe.

December 2015: The body of Jarrod Jackson (44), a street vendor, is found in a car wreck in the small town of Petrus Steyn in the Free State. Barnard testifies later that they had killed Jarrod in a bid to pass his dead body off as that of Valentine’s, so they could claim his life insurance money.

January 2016: Glen McGregor (57), an accountant from Krugersdorp, is shot dead on his smallholding in Randfontein. Barnard claims the group forced him to transfer money into Marinda Steyn’s account before shooting him in the stomach.

May 2016: The body of Anthony Scholefield (64), an insurance broker from Krugersdorp, is found in the boot of his car in the town. Several days later, the body of Kevin McAlpine (29), another insurance broker from Krugersdorp, is also found in the boot of his car in the town. On 31 May, estate agent Hanle Lategan’s (52) body is found next to a stream in Randfontein.

According to police, the accused made appointments with their final three victims at Key West shopping centre in Krugersdorp‚ among other places, and eventually lured them back to Marinda Steyn’s flat.

The arrests

Two young men, Christiaan Kruger and Fabian Luff, were arrested in connection with the murders at the beginning of June 2016. In September 2016 they were both acquitted and released.

In June 2016, Le Roux and Marcel Steyn were arrested in connection with the killings. Zak Valentine was apprehended and charged with faking his own death a month later.

In August that year, Cecilia and Marinda Steyn were arrested for fraud in connection with Zak’s “death” and conspiracy in connection with the murder of street vendor Jarrod Jackson. Marinda was also linked to the death of Glen McGregor.

That same month John Barnard is arrested in connection with the murder of Glen McGregor.

Additional sources: Krugersdorp News, TimesLive, News24