Guatemalan Diego Novella has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the murder of Gabriela Kabrins Alban, his American girlfriend, at a Camps Bay hotel back in July 2015.
The sentence was handed down yesterday by Western Cape High Court Judge Vincent Saldanha, bringing to an end a case that some police said was one of the strangest they had ever encountered.
We will get to those details later but first, via News24, here’s Saldanha:
“The deliberate desecration of the body of the deceased by the accused and his wanton humiliation of her abounds as a serious aggravating factor,” he said…
Novella [below] had pleaded not guilty to her murder, saying a concoction of natural substances he had taken while on a “soul journey” and detoxification process in South Africa had caused him to behave in an abnormal manner.
But Saldanha found him guilty of murder in June, saying his version was “wholly contrived”.
“In my view, he knew exactly what he was doing at the time and it was a clear indication on his part of the intent to murder the deceased,” he said at the time.
OK, let’s rehash some of the details of that murder scene. We covered this when the news first broke here:
According to police, Kabrins had been the victim of a horrific sexual assault using a curling iron.
They also revealed a message had been smeared onto her body with her excrement.
The man was clearly unhinged.
During court proceedings last year, Captain Wayne Nachtmann, the Western Cape’s only specialist in psychologically-motivated crimes, testified about what he found in the hotel room.
Her body was half naked, there was a hair straightener protruding from between her private parts, the word “cerote” was written on her body, and the room at the upmarket hotel was a mess.
There were chips on her face and a brown substance all over her body.
“We googled the word ‘cerote’,” Nachtmann continued.
“And, according to the Google definition, the word in Spanish means ‘piece of excrement’. Or, in the Guatamalan language, it says, ‘You have done something wrong with me’.”
There was also a PS chocolate bar, sweets and chips scattered on her body.
His defence had claimed that Diego confused his victim for a “demonic entity” due to drug intoxication.
I’m no legal eagle, but is 20 years really enough punishment for a crime like this? I mean, what are the chances that Diego is going to leave a prison a changed man?
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