South African Reparative Camp Killer Gets 25 Years

By Melanie Nathan, April 17, 2015.

Raymond Buys starved and tortured murdered by de Koker, on his death bed
Raymond Buys starved and tortured – murdered by de Koker, on his death bed

A South African Court sentenced convicted murderer Alex de Koker to 25 years in prison on Thursday for murdering Raymond Buys, a 15 year old, at Echo Wild Game Rangers camp in 2011.

Buys was sent to the Camp, run by de Koker, where young men were expected to “change their effeminate ways.” Buys endured horrific torture at the hands of de Koker, with Erasmus, then only 18, an accomplice.

De Koker and Erasmus were found guilty of murder, child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Buys died a month after being admitted to a Vereeniging hospital following a 10-week stay at the camp.

Magistrate Retha Willemse of the Vereeniging Regional Court sentenced de Koker’s co-accused Michael Erasmus to three years correctional supervision for his involvement in the murder and a 12-year suspended sentence for murder which would go into effect if he committed any transgressions in the next five years.  De Koker was sentenced to 20 years for murder and five years for child abuse, which he will serve concurrently with a two-year sentence for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The magistrate noted that De Koker did not act in the heat of the moment and was in control of the “tragic event”.

“You [De Koker] were the person in control of this tragic event and you could have put an end to it, but you didn’t.”

She said De Koker was guilty of systematically torturing a “defenseless child” and ensured he could not escape.

“The deceased was a defenseless child. He had 61 injuries and was mutilated over a period of time. You had more than enough time to come to your senses.”

“You showed no remorse but instead chose to put the blame on Erasmus.”

She spoke to Erasmus, who will be under house arrest and 24 hour monitoring for the next 3 years,  saying that he was 18 years old at the time, did not have De Koker’s emotional and intellectual maturity and therefore could not be held equally responsible.

If Erasmus does not comply with the conditions of his correctional supervision, his full sentence of 12 years imprisonment on the murder charge, five of which are suspended, will come into effect.

De Koker, also staged recordings of conversations with Buys in order to mislead the court.

During arguments in mitigation, his lawyer Phillip Venter said De Koker’s four years in custody should be considered during sentencing.

Erasmus’s lawyer Chris “Dagga” Smith said a report by a correctional officer revealed there were “so many mitigating circumstances” to justify correctional supervision.

Buys suffered severe abuse and torture at the hands of the two men. He was punched and struck with a spade, a stick, and a 60cm-long rubber pipe.

A doctor who examined Buys when he was admitted to hospital said the boy was brain damaged and in a deep coma.  He also had a broken arm and showed signs of kidney failure.

My Comment: I am prone to agree with the Erasmus sentencing. However I believe de Koker should never see the light of day. Considering he is only 49 years of age he will serve into his seventies if he does not find a way to earlier release. He will again taste freedom if he survives. In South Africa during the Apartheid era a death sentence may have been imposed. I believe there were extenuating circumstances and extreme cruelty in this case and that de Koker should have received life in prison.  Two other young men were also killed in previous years, while at the camp, but de Koker does not stand accused of those crimes, for which many believe him to be responsible.

With tears welling up in her eyes, Buys’s mother, Wilna, said she was satisfied that justice had been done.

De Koker’s lawyer said his client would apply for leave to appeal.

Justice as Game Ranger in Anti-Gay “Man Up” Camp Found Guilty of Murder

Alex de Koker and Michael Erasmus were found guilty of murder, child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, by the Vereeniging Regional Court in South Africa, today. By Melanie Nathan, February 27, 2015. Finally, after years of uncertainty and trial, Alex de Koker and his henchman Michael Erasmus were found guilty […]

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By Melanie Nathan, June 19, 2013. Today, in Vereeniging, South Africa, the ongoing murder trial of the owner of Echo Wild Game Ranger Camp, Alex de Koker, 49, and his co-accused, Michael Erasmus (20) was postponed yet again,  due to the accused murderer’s inability to pay his legal fees resulting in the withdrawal of his […]

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5 thoughts on “South African Reparative Camp Killer Gets 25 Years

  1. Thank you, Melanie, for following and reporting on this sad case for many years, to its conclusion. Raymond Buys was just a boy when he was so viciously murdered.

    Reparative therapy is a sham; it simply doesn’t work. And as this case illustrates, it can lead to the premature death of our youth by extreme cruelty. I agree with you that life without parole would have been more appropriate.

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