South Africa


Gangster found guilty of murdering 12-year-old boy

Gangster found guilty of murdering 12-year-old boy
Protesting mothers display posters of their children, killed in violence on the Cape Flats. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

It was justice for the family and friends of murdered 12-year-old Asheeq Mitchell after his killer, Jerome Cupido, was convicted in the Western Cape High Court on Monday 11 May.

Asheeq Mitchell was killed by a stray bullet fired from a gun during a drug deal gone wrong in a backyard near his home in a gang-infested area.

The 12-year-old was just one of about 1,000 children who are killed in South Africa every year, according to Lucy Jamieson, senior researcher at UCT’s Children’s Institute. 

Asheeq was killed on the evening of 26 April 2018 in Short Street, Bokmakierie. Two years later, Judge Hilary Slingers found Jerome Cupido guilty on a count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, the unlawful possession of a firearm and the unlawful possession of ammunition.

On the night of the shooting, Ashraf Mitchell, a drug dealer, Samuel Brown and Clint Scholtz and a person only known as Pagad were standing around an open fire in a yard in Short Street, Hazendal, Athlone. 

Two people entered and engaged with Brown in an attempt to buy drugs. During the transaction, someone pulled out a firearm and fired several shots, wounding Brown and Scholtz and fatally wounding Asheeq who was passing by.

The State, from the outset, had argued the murder of the boy had been premeditated. 

Cupido pleaded not guilty to all counts and stated that on the day in question he was at home and nowhere near the scene. However, his version of events was refuted by the testimony of Brown. 

Brown said he had worked for Mitchell as a drug runner and sold tik and Mandrax.

He was not the only drug merchant in the area, said Brown, and there was “fierce competition” between rival merchants.

During the trial, the court heard that a white bakkie had reversed into the road that night and had stopped opposite a small gate. Two men got out and entered the premises asking Brown for a “R50 parcel”.

Brown, the court heard, had felt uneasy as the two men had been wearing hoodies and gloves and had opted to walk into a passage in the yard where he retrieved his stash without being seen.

It was Cupido who had handed Brown the money for the drugs and who had drawn the gun, pointed it in Brown’s face before firing it, wounding Brown in the jaw.

When Brown regained consciousness, he tried to get up before several more shots were fired. It was then that he had seen Asheeq staggering forward clutching his chest and stomach.

The child was rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Brown had told the court that the shooting had taken place because of the drug trade in the area. Cupido is a member of the 28s gang and also the Vikings gang. 

Jerome Plan, a member of the Junior Cisko Yakkies gang, lived opposite the house where the incident happened and said Cupido had visited him three days before the killing.

Brown testified that the Vikings gang and the Junior Cisko Yakkies gang shared the same boss.

Asheeq’s father, Ebrahim, testified that he was at home with his family on the night his son was killed. The last time he had seen him alive was when his son had collected four sachets of hot chocolate. Later that evening someone shouted that Asheeq had been shot.

In May 2018 Cupido was caught on camera in Pollsmoor Prison living it up with other gang members in a cell. Suspects in the same cell were Shafiek “Fiekie Viking” Meyer, Waylon Botha and Samier Slamang.

Both Slamang and Botha were acquitted in 2017 of the murder of six-year-old Saadiqah Lippert also of Bokmakierie. They had been re-arrested on charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

Cupido’s sentencing proceedings will commence on Wednesday, May 27. DM


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