Satanic murder accused: ‘I am very sorry’
The youngest accused in the Krugersdorp murder trial addresses the family of those she had helped to kill
For Marcel Steyn, it all came down to a single phrase: “I am very sorry.”
One of the accused in the “Krugersdorp killers” case, she proffered her heartfelt apology on Monday for the murders she had helped commit.
She is the youngest in a group on trial for an alleged murder spree spanning four years.
In the South Gauteng High Court on Monday, Steyn addressed some of the family members of those she had help to kill.
“I have thought a lot about what I could say and what I want to say. Basically, what it boils down to is: ‘I am very sorry,’” Steyn said.
Steyn – along with Cecilia Steyn, 37, and Zak Valentine, 33 – have pleaded not guilty to 32 counts, including murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, fraud and intimidation.
Her brother, Le Roux Steyn, entered into a plea bargain with the state in 2018, and was sentenced to 25 years behind bars in May that year. Her mother, Marinda Steyn, 51, has already been sentenced to 11 life terms and 115 years in jail for the killing spree.
They were all part of Electus Per Deus – a group that viewed themselves as “chosen by God” – which allegedly killed 11 people between 2012 and 2016.
Marcel said that although she had told the truth through her testimony, she said admitting to what she had done and saying sorry would not bring back the dead.
“I realise it does not take the pain away, and that you are going to walk with that for the rest of your life, and I contributed to that. All I can say is I am sorry. I am very sorry,” Marcel said.
Marcel had earlier testified that when she applied to study at the University of Pretoria, her mother was having none of it.
The young woman told the court she was excited when she was provisionally accepted to the institution. But her mother said she would remove her from the university.
“She told me they [her mother and others implicated in the killing spree] would get rid of me too,” she told the court.
Despite this, she said she had a close relationship with her mother because she had an absent father.
Her lawyer, advocate Sharon Johnson, asked what her current relationship was like with her mother.
“It has strained before we were in the same [prison] section. I see her once a month at the social worker for family therapy,” Marcel said.
She said she had given Cecilia a Mother’s Day card and a letter last Thursday.
During the first two hours of her testimony, Marcel testified about several murders.
Saying she wanted to tell all, she testified how financial brokers Anthony Scholefield and Kevin McAlpine were lured to flats in Krugersdorp in 2016.
Marcel said she collapsed when she saw how McAlpine was strangled. His body was put in a dustbin and then dumped in the boot of a car.
She said estate agent Hanle Lategan was lured in a similar fashion. Her body was dragged into a field and left there.
As part of her often harrowing testimony on Monday, Marcel told the court the group was instructed by Cecilia to murder Zak’s wife, Mikeila, because she was a “loose string”.
Marcel said Cecilia had arranged with Zak to give Mikeila medication the night before. She said when they arrived at the house, they found Mikeila sleeping in bed. She said she watched as her mother went in and started hitting Mikeila in the head with a hammer.
“My mother put the hammer down and started stabbing her. I stood there and I just froze. I just kept on thinking and felt that this was Mikeila,” Marcel said, wiping away tears. “I stood there and I was looking at my mother stabbing her.”
She said she later took a knife and stabbed Mikeila in her side.
While Marcel testified, Zak sat unfazed in the dock next to Cecilia, who had her head hung low.
Marcel said she regarded Mikeila as an older sister, adding she had taught her how to bake.
“I decided I will speak the truth and not lie. Before, I used to say I wasn’t involved in any of these matters. But I want to disclose my involvement in these matters completely,” she told the court.
“I couldn’t handle the lies anymore. Cecilia was not the person she portrayed herself to be. I don’t want to be living a lie.”
The first people the group murdered were Natacha Burger, 33, and Joy Boonzaier, 63. Marcel said they were murdered by Zak and his wife Mikeila.
“Mikeila couldn’t get herself to kill Joy. After Zak killed Natacha, he went into the room and killed Joy,” she said.
Marcel told the court Cecilia also wanted pastor Reginald Bendixen dead. She said she accompanied her mother and Zak to kill Bendixen. They wore fake police uniforms and wigs.
She said Zak “hit him with an axe”, and Marinda stabbed him. Later, on the way to Cecilia’s flat after the murder, she said they stopped and threw the knife and axe into a drain.
She said when they murdered Peter Meyer and his wife Joan, Peter called out Psalm 23 while he was being stabbed by Zak. Following the murder, Marcel said she felt that everything had “spiralled” out of control and the victims did not deserve to be murdered.
“I was the only one in the group who raised doubts. There was a point where I hated my mother and Cecilia,” she told the court.
She said her relationship with Cecilia was always “stressed”.
Judge Ellen Francis asked if Cecilia knew she was going to testify on Monday.
“No, I was scared that something will happen to me in prison.”
The court had asked that Marcel be separated from the rest of the group in prison and when they were being transported, for her safety.Marcel also testified she had started using drugs in 2013 until her arrest. She said she would use the drugs “now and then” at the beginning, but the drug use increased as the killing spree continued.“As these things progressed, I felt I was more dependent on the drugs as they made me feel good ... and made me not feel as guilty,” she said.Marcel will be cross-examined on Tuesday.