Two men have been convicted of the murder of two-year-old Braydon Graaff and the attempted murder of his mother and another man in Atlantis two years ago.
A stray bullet fired during a gang shootout hit Graaff in the chest while he was in the arms of his mother Rostan at a MyCiTi bus stop on October 22, 2016. His mother was hit in her left wrist.
On Thursday, Western Cape High Court Judge Tandaswa Ndita found Renaldo Galant and Charlton Renier guilty, but acquitted Andrew Hendricks of all charges.
The men were charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder, assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
The State alleged that they had targeted Dennic Hendricks, who was also at the bus stop.
But, at the start of the trial, they pleaded not guilty to the charges, denying that they were part of the G-Unit gang and claiming that they were not involved in the shooting.
During their trial, Rostan testified that she could feel her son had been shot because she felt heat against her body and realised it was blood. She knocked on the doors of nearby homes but no one answered.
Braydon apparently said to her: “Eina mommy.”
The child was dead by the time they arrived at the hospital.
Hendricks also testified during the trial and said he recognised Renier when he walked towards him as they had attended the same school.
He asked Renier: “My brother, what are you doing?” But Renier did not reply and instead pointed a firearm at his head.
Hendricks ran away and the bullet hit his arm. Renier fired more shots and Hendricks ran in a zig-zag manner to avoid the bullets.
A doctor testified that the bullet damaged Hendricks’ right lung and it was most likely still lodged in his chest.
Renier used a firearm to assault a man on the scene after the man tried to stop him from fleeing.
The man’s finger was fractured.
Ndita summarised the evidence of various state witnesses on the scene, who testified that they had seen Galant handing a firearm over, Renier firing shots and Andrew Hendricks driving a blue VW Polo, the getaway vehicle.
She found that Renier and Galant were indeed members of the gang and committed the offences in the furtherance of the gang’s goals.
“The tattoos that were shown to the court on their bodies correspond with G-Unit tattoos,” she said.
Commenting on Galant’s testimony, she said she had the impression he gave evidence in a calculated and guarded manner.
“I find his alibi defence of sleeping from 1pm to 8pm convenient. I disbelieve it. I think it is untrue.”
She also found Renier’s alibi “unconvincing” and said there was “overwhelming” evidence that Renier was the shooter.
With Hendricks, she said his alibi was unshaken and she did not believe the State had established that he had acted in the furtherance of a common purpose with his co-accused.
“Although accused (Hendricks) was present at the scene, I am not convinced that he knew or aligned himself or foresaw the possibility of what is going to unfold.”
She did not believe he saw Galant handing the firearm to Renier outside the car.
The matter was postponed to October 16 to allow the defence time to obtain pre-sentencing reports.
The men remain in custody.[Source: News24]