A 39-year-old Chivi man allegedly killed his three-year-old son during a ritual to eliminate a fellow villager he suspected of having an affair with his wife.
Donnius Marume of Mhokore Village in Gororo communal lands appeared before Justice Tedius Karwi here facing murder charges following his son's disappearance during the ritual.
He denied killing the toddler, saying he discovered the boy had disappeared after recovering from a trance on the banks of Tugwi River where he was conducting the ritual.
Prosecutor Mr Lovack Masuku said in July 2006, Marume's son, Dominic, disappeared during the ritual conducted to kill one Dzingai Mhuru whom he suspected of having an affair with his wife.
However, Marume -- through his lawyer Mr Kossam Chuma of Chuma, Gurajena and Partners -- told the court he believed his son was still alive.
He said the boy could have wandered after being affected by the herbs he got from a South African herbalist who recommended the ritual.
Marume said he had gone back to the herbalist in South Africa after Dominic disappeared and was given more herbs.
He, however, gave up on the rituals and finding his son after the herbalist became hostile and threatened him, the court heard.
Jutice Karwi sitting with assessors Mr Eliphas Gweru and Samuel Mutomba reserved judgment to this week after the defence closed its case.
Charges against Marume arose in July 2006 when he returned from South Africa where he had gone to look for work and tried to lure back his estranged wife, Maria Garudzo who is Dominic's mother.
Garudzo, who is now deceased, said Marume should first pay lobola before they could live together again.
The court heard that Marume paid the lobola and Garudza moved back with him but the marriage allegedly turned sour after he claimed Dominic was not his son.
He reportedly went to South Africa to consult a herbalist who gave him herbs to administer on a small boy or sheep along a perennial river.
The n'anga said this would kill his wife's alleged lover, a fellow villager. It is alleged Marume took Dominic to Tugwi River and burnt the herbs. Marume, according to the prosecution, went into a trance after inhaling the smoke.
When he emerged from the trance, Dominic had disappeared. His wife made a police report leading to Marume's arrest.