Emelda Marizani – the Chivhu woman convicted of murdering her four daughters by slitting their throats and setting her family home on fire – will be sentenced next Friday.
Justice Munamato Mutevedzi today threw out Marizani’s defence of insanity, finding that she had failed to prove on a balance of probabilities that she was mentally disordered at the time of committing the murders.
Marizani’s statement to police and the oral testimony presented in court materially contradicted the medical evidence she submitted, which was found to be totally unreliable.
After setting the house on fire, Marizani went on to burn two of the four children beyond recognition.
She then attempted suicide by gulping a poisonous substance, and was only saved after being rushed to hospital.
When the trial opened last year, Marizani pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder. In her plea of diminished responsibility, she asserted that at the time of committing the offences she was insane.
Insanity defense is based on the assumption that at the time of the crime, the defendant was suffering from severe mental illness and therefore, was incapable of appreciating the nature of the crime and differentiating right from wrong behavior.
In Marizani’s case however, the decision went against her.The shocking nature of Marizani’s crimes, combined with the highly emotional circumstances of the trial, have caused outrage and grief across the nation.
Following the verdict, she will be sentenced next Friday.