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In The News South Africa

Guatemalan man back in court for girlfriend’s murder

CAPE TOWN, August 30 – The case against Guatemalan Diego Novella, accused of killing his American marketing executive girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins, is expected to continue in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.
Novella has pleaded not guilty to the 2015 murder of his 39-year-old girlfriend in the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel where they were staying in, and instead will argue diminished responsibility due to drug intoxication. In his plea statement, he said he had been in an abnormal mental state after having taken hallucinogenic substances.
He was arrested after Alban’s body was discovered in the hotel room by hotel staff in the afternoon. Novella was not there, but was arrested later that day.
On Tuesday, a toxicologist told the court that no drugs were found in the body of slain Alban.
Jaco van Zyl, the chief forensic analyst from the department of health in Cape Town, testified that he analysed a number of biological samples retrieved from her body, as well as from the crime scene.
These included samples of Alban’s urine, blood, stomach contents and bile, none of which contained any “drugs of abuse”, including dronabinol, which is the main compound found in dagga.
This contradicted Novella’s assertion in his plea explanation that Alban had taken dronabinol, also known as THC, with him.


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