Hannah Cornelius

Young college student stabbed, stoned to death begged for her life, weeping suspect says during unexpected trial confession: Court

A South African court learned how a college student begged her captors not to kill her after three of them reportedly gang-raped her—and how they allegedly murdered her anyway.

Though four men have pleaded not guilty to the May 2017 murder of Hannah Cornelius, 21, Geraldo Parsons, 27, made an unexpected confession on the witness stand. A tearful Parsons recalled driving to an unknown area when Cornelius pleaded him and his co-conspirators not to kill her after they had “sex with her,” according to the Times Live.

“Vernon [Witbooi] had condoms. He said Hannah said we can have sex with her and thereafter let her go. She said we mustn’t hurt her. I saw it in her eyes, she was scared. I knew she wasn’t saying it cause she wanted to,” Parsons told the court, according to IOL.

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Parsons and his alleged accomplices Witbooi, 33, Nashville Julius, 29, and Eben van Niekerk, 28, are accused of carjacking Cornelius and her friend, Cheslin Marsh, 22, stoning Marsh and leaving him for dead, and killing Cornelius after raping her.

According to Times Live, Parsons claimed he didn’t want to have sex with Cornelius because he had a girlfriend and children. He testified that he did so anyway before Witbooi and van Niekerk sexually assaulted her. The men then drove Cornelius to a vineyard where van Niekerk stabbed her for refusing to get out the car and Witbooi beat her to death with a rock, he said.

The 27-year-old continued, revealing that he asked Witbooi not to kill Cornelius but he ignored his pleas and bludgeoned the victim in the head with a large rock as she lay on her stomach.

IOL reported that Parsons revealed that he changed his plea as he believed his co-conspirators would portray him as the “mastermind.”

The trial will recommence on Monday.

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[Featured Image: Hannah Cornelius/Handout]