John Barnard, a member of the infamous Krugersdorp Killers, has died in prison.
The spokesperson for the correctional services department, Singabakho Nxumalo, told News24 that Barnard died in his sleep on Tuesday evening.
He died at the Barberton Correctional Facility in Mpumalanga, where he was serving his sentence.
Barnard was part of a group, called Electus per Deus (Chosen by God), who murdered 11 people between 2012 and 2016.
After his arrest, Barnard pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, and turned State witness.
He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in December 2016.
In 2019, Barnard’s co-accused, including Cecilia Steyn, Marcel Steyn and Zak Valentine, received multiple life sentences after being found guilty of a series of murders and other crimes.
Marcel’s mother, former schoolteacher Marinda Steyn, and Le Roux Steyn, were also convicted and sentenced.
The group found its genesis when, in 2012, Cecilia Steyn infiltrated a religious group, called Overcomers Through Christ (OTC), under the guise of being in need of deliverance from Satanism, News24 reported.
Valentine, his wife, Mikeila, and Marinda, also joined the group.
They later broke away and formed Electus per Deus.
Their first call of business was launching a series of attacks against OTC members.
On 2 July 2012, they placed homemade bombs under the cars of people attending an OTC course – but, because they were nearly spotted, they fled before they could ignite the explosives.
Later that month, the group started a fire and damaged windows at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Randburg.
On 11 July that year, Cecilia and her accomplices successfully set off explosives near cars at an OTC meeting.
Their murder spree started with Natacha Burger, an active member of OTC.
Burger and a close friend, Joy Boonzaier, were stabbed to death in July 2012.
Other murders included Valentine’s wife, Mikeila, Peter Meyer, Glen McGregor and Anthony Scolefield.
While the murders of Burger, Boonzaier and Mikeila were tied to their attacks on OTC, many of the murders that followed were motivated by money.