1867: Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, “Archdupe” 1749: Maria Renata Singer, theological football

1962: Marthinus Rossouw, for services rendered

June 20th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 1962, Marthinus Rossouw was hanged in Pretoria after an unusual defense strategy failed to repel a headline-grabbing murder charge.

Rossouw shot dead Baron Dieterich Joachim Gunther von Schauroth, a rich farmer (dude was born in a castle) who had been forced into city living by a long run of drought and was known for the life expectancy-compromising habit of toting around large sums of cash.

Rossouw insisted at trial that the killing had been at Von Schauroth’s own instigation, so freighted with care was the victim’s life that he implored his younger friend to end it. The defendant hoped thereby to mitigate the sentence as a case of murder by consent.*

Whether telling the truth or not, Rossouw didn’t make a very credible witness; caught in several lies and omissions, and naturally lacking any corroborating witness to the alleged murder pact, the jury gave him no slack.

Neither did the noose.

* The proper legal handling of a case where the victim of a homicide has freely desired to die is a longstanding salami-slicing juridical problem — witness a whole chapter in an 1897 British primer on consent issues in the law.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Murder,Pelf,South Africa

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6 thoughts on “1962: Marthinus Rossouw, for services rendered”

  1. You there, this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information.

  2. Deon Rossouw says:

    Wilma, Nico ek is ook baie geiinteresseerd om te hoor wat van Martiens en sy familie geword het.

  3. Nico Jooste says:

    Hi Wilma, Ek het jou ma en haar broer Gawie geken. Ek het ook vir oom Rocky, jou oupa se broer en sy familie baie goed geken. Ek het hulle in die mid sewentigs laas gesien en sal baie graag wil weet wat van almal geword het veral jou ma en Gawie.
    Ek hoop om gou van jou te hoor.

    Nico Jooste

  4. Gavin Cooper says:

    Dear Wilma

    I am the son of Advocate Wilfrid Cooper who defended your grandfather. I am writing a biography of my father and learning as much as I can about his cases.If you do find anything of interest on this case I would be very interested to learn of it.

    Regards, Gavin Cooper

  5. wilma viljoen says:

    Hi, my name is wilma viljoen, i am the grandchild of martiens rossouw! My mother is the daughter of martiens rossouw. It’s very interesting to read about his life, because we didn’t knew him. Can you please tell me more of him please.

    1. Nico Jooste says:

      Hi wilma,
      ek wil graag weet wat van jou ma en jou oom gawie geword het, ek wil ook graag weet wat van oom rocky jou oupa se broer, tannie bertha en die dogters geword het. ek het hulle in die mid sewentigs laas gesien en soek al jare na hulle en jou ma en oom. Kontak my as jy kan. Ek bly in Namibia en my email is workshop3@nrpnam.com.
      Nico Jooste

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