The Chipata High Court has slapped a death sentence on a 39-year-old man of Chief Kawaza’s area in Katete district for murdering his friend in bizarre circumstances.
Lusaka High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna ruled that Emmanuel Phiri of Kagolo village should hang by the neck until pronounced dead for murdering Spider Phiri by using a puff adder, a deadly African viper after arguing on who was powerful between them.
When passing sentence, Judge Mutuna opposed Legal Aid counsel John Phiri’s mitigation that the court must consider the circumstances which resulted into the death of Spider Phiri as the two had strong belief in witchcraft.
Facts of the matter are that on unknown dates this year, Emmanuel who was a fisherman met with Spider at a named girlfriend and a quarrel started, which grew into a big argument of who was powerful in-terms of witchcraft.
Emmanuel however, went home to collect a stripped white black plastic bag with a snake inside and took it to where Spider was.
He warned Spider that if he tried to open the plastic bag, it would mark the end of his life, but Spider went ahead
to open the plastic and removed a snake, which the two started pulling against each other.
Emmanuel held the tail of the snake while Spider held on the neck until the head of the snake was cut and the convict later burnt the head and told the friend that he would die the same way.
It was at that time when Spider went home, his body
started swelling and he later died.
Postmortem result showed that he died of a snake bite.