Marthinus van der Walt was found guilty of the murder and robbery of Dr Louis Heyns in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Judge Andre le Grange found he had the direct intention to kill Heyns and to take his car when he attacked the Stellenbosch paediatrician on Strand beach two years ago.
Heyns’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Strand eight days after he had been reported missing. He had been kicked and beaten to death.
The State argued that the doctor had been hijacked and taken to the site on May 22, 2013, while the accused said he had met Heyns at the beach when Heyns approached him for sexual favours.
Le Grange found Van der Walt him not guilty on a charge of kidnapping.
Van der Walt claimed it had not been his intention to kill Heyns, whom he apparently attacked after Heyns allegedly insulted him for not being able to get an erection.
He then stole the doctor’s cellphone and car and fled the scene.
Both his widow Dalene and brother Christo Heyns testified that Heyns had never been involved in any extramarital affairs and had never shown any sexual interest in men.
Van der Walt’s attempt to have the murder charge reduced to culpable homicide, as he claimed it was not his intention to kill the doctor, was last month rejected by prosecutor Samantha Raphels.
Le Grange found that Van der Walt was aware of what he was doing when he killed the doctor, despite claims that his actions were affected by his use of alcohol and drugs that day.
Sentencing arguments will be heard in the High Court on Thursday.
Sarel van der Walt, Marthinus’s brother, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and theft. He reached a plea bargain agreement with the State last year.
A third suspect, Malmesbury businessman and scrapyard owner, Juan Liedeman, pleaded guilty to a charge of not having reasonable cause to believe the stolen car, a Peugeot 308, was properly acquired.
He also entered a plea bargain and sentencing agreement and was handed a R10 000 fine or five years behind bars. Half the fine and sentence were reportedly suspended for five years. News24