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Trial in S.African white supremacist murder to end next week

The trial of two black farmworkers accused of hacking to death white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche will wrap up next week, more than two years after his killing, a judge said Thursday.

Judge John Horn set closing arguments for April 18 in a court in the small northwest town of Ventersdorp, where Terre’Blanche was killed in a bed at his farmhouse.

A verdict is expected about four weeks later.

Two workers — Chris Mahlangu and a teenager, then aged 28 and 15 — are accused of beating to death the co-founder of the white-extremist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) on April 3, 2010.

On the final day of testimony, Horn ruled as inadmissable Mahlangu’s statement to police implicating the teenager because investigators failed to follow South Africa’s child protection law in their handling of the case.

Police have not presented any other evidence linking the teenage to the crime.

“Of course it’s a victory,” said Zola Mavaju, attorney for the teenager, reacting to the judge’s decision.

“We would be ready on Wednesday and take it from there.”

The autopsy report said Terre’Blanche had suffered numerous injuries to his face and body, but none suggesting self-defence.

The teenager says that Terre’Blanche was already dead when he entered the house. Mahlangu has testified that he acted in self-defence when the 69-year-old attacked him with a machete.

The murder revived lingering racial tensions from the apartheid era, but has largely faded from public discussion in South Africa.

During the trial, white AWB members have held demonstrations outside the courthouse and displayed placards reading “Save the Boer”, referring to the descendants of the first European settlers.