Murder parolee found guilty of killing his family

Wesley Julyan was on parole for a 2003 murder when he killed his brother, niece and nephew, and their grandfather.
Wesley Julyan was on parole for a 2003 murder when he killed his brother, niece and nephew, and their grandfather.
Image: via Facebook

The last time Wesley Julyan sat in a courtroom where his fate was being decided, the then fresh-faced 19-year-old was scared and nervous.

More than a decade later, Julyan, 32, a hardened criminal who served time, sat in a different courtroom dock this time for the brutal killing of his brother, his niece and nephew, and his brother's father-in-law.  

Sentencing is expected to begin in the Pietermaritzburg Mtunzini high court on Tuesday following Monday's judgement in which Julyan was found guilty of killing his brother Jeffery Julyan, 34, Jeffery’s son Ethan, 9, Jeffery’s step-daughter Kayla McKenna, 16, and Jeffery’s father-in-law Peter McKenna, 73.

Throughout his trial, Julyan maintained his innocence, however the state proved that he had killed the four and set the house alight in Mtwalume, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, in December 2017.

According to the indictment, Julyan and his brother were at odds over property that was removed from the house once owned by their father.

Julyan, who was out on parole for a 2003 murder, had lived in the house in Mtwalume before his father had sold it.

On December 19 2017, Jeffery, his children and his father-in-law had were at the house to return the items.

Jeffery was assaulted with a pick handle and strangled with a rope.

Ethan and Peter were strangled with a copper ligature while Kayla was strangled with a dog chain.

Julyan then set the house on fire with their bodies still inside.

In 2003, Julyan and his friend Jaco Strauss had strangled a good samaritan who helped them when their car broke down.

At the time, Julyan was 18 and still in matric.

The incident made international headlines and was referred to as the "SMS murder" after Strauss sent a text message in which he confessed to the murder to his girlfriend, who was living in the UK.

She contacted South African police and the pair were arrested.

They were arrested and found guilty of killing Kenneth Gary van Aardt.

Julyan was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, however served only five years behind bars on appeal.

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