On September 17, 1997, a former prison escapee Sylvester Mofokeng, 25, was found guilty of 12 murder and nine other charges at the Johannesburg High Court. The 12 murders were committed between April and June 1995. The other charges were for theft, housebreaking, robbery, attempted murder and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.
State advocate Rasigie Bhika asked for life sentences to be imposed for the murder convictions, and between 15 and 20 years for the other charges. Bhika referred to Mofokeng's previous convictions, which dated as far back as 1983 when he was 14 years old. His impressive criminal record includes multiple convictions and sentences for theft, robbery, vandalism, unlawful possession of arms and ammunition, escaping from prison, attempted murder and murder. Calling him a "professional killer, who was heartless and without remorse and killed for rewards," Judge Labe sentenced him to 145 years in jail and 10 life sentences. He added the murders were of such a cruel nature that in the interests of the community it had to be seen that justice had been done.
When Bhika asked for Mofokeng to sign the document concerning his previous convictions, he said he could not. After being prompted by the judge he said: "The gunshot fucked up my hand, so I cannot write anymore". Mofokeng was shot and seriously wounded by police in August last year when he was rearrested, following his escape from Diepkloof Prison. He escaped on March 23, 1995 -- while serving 70 years plus life for murder, attempted murder and robbery -- after a prison soccer match.