Hendricks' murder plea bargain rejected

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court rejected on Tuesday as too lenient the proposed sentence to be imposed on a father for the murder of his two-year-old toddler.

John Hendricks was to have been sentenced on Tuesday morning under a plea bargain agreement drawn up by his lawyer Ken Klopper.

Judge Robert Henney said he had studied the plea bargain agreement on Monday night.

According to the indictment, Hendricks qualified for the minimum sentence of 15 years for the murder of his son, Theopulus Jordan Groepies, on the night of March 3, 2011.

He was charged with murder, assault, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, and kidnapping.

The judge said the infant had soiled his nappy. Hendricks then repeatedly threw the boy to the ground.

He died of his injuries in the Red Cross Children's Memorial hospital, in Cape Town, about a week later.

Henney said the circumstances called for a sentence more severe than that suggested in the plea bargain.

While not mentioning what the suggested sentenced was, Henney said he had in mind a sentence of 25 years, which was 10 years more than the prescribed minimum.

The case would continue on Tuesday afternoon after Klopper had consulted with Hendricks.

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