Also see: Marinda Steyn
BOOK: Jana Marx, The Krugersdorp Cult Killings: Inside Cecilia Steyn’s Reign of Terror, LAPA Publishers Jan. 21, 2021, Audio book.
Publisher’s promo copy: Eleven murders over a period of four years sent shockwaves through the Krugersdorp community and made headlines nationwide. Eventually these murders were connected to Cecilia Steyn and her cult, Electus per Deus (chosen by God). Members of the cult were willing to do anything for Cecilia - even if it meant committing murder.
Who is Cecilia Steyn? How can one person manipulate five others to commit murder and perjury on her behalf? How did Satanism contribute to all of this? How did inexperienced criminals manage to evade capture for so long?
Jana Marx answers these and other questions in this true-crime account that led to one of the most sensational murder cases in the country’s history. Through interviews with those in the inner circle, evidence given in court and police files covering a period of four years, Marx attempts to answer the public’s questions and provide a view of the inner workings of such a cult.
In 2021, the book was been made into a TV series, Devilsdorp, narrated by the author.
EXCERPTS from various sources:
The murderers are seemingly ordinary people - a teacher, a financial broker, and a teenager who - despite her involvement in the murders - still managed to obtain six academic distinctions and be accepted to medical school.
The first victims were a member of OTC and her close friend who were stabbed to death. The next victim was a pastor friend of the OTC leader. The next murder was Zak’s wife. Zak Valentine later faked his own death in order for Cecilia to claim the insurance.
Two of the victims were clergymen. During the trial, Marcel Steyn admitted to being on the scene when they were instructed by Cecilia to murder Mikeila Valentine because she was a "loose string", and she participated in the actual attack on the travel agent. She also accompanied her mother to kill pastor Reginald Bendixen. She testified that she was also there when businessman Peter Meyer called out Psalm 23 while he was being stabbed by Valentine.
The group purchased pig heads to practice on. They wanted to determine how hard one had to swing an axe at a person’s head to kill them.
Cecilia instigated the killings even though she was not directly involved in the crimes that her puppets were charged with.
Cecilia described herself as a 42nd generation witch. Le Roux Steyn testified that they’d called her only by the letter of her name, C, because she’d told them that saying her full name would summon demons. Cecilia Steyn has admitted to having multiple personalities. During court proceedings, Steyn confirmed that she had consulted a psychologist to deal with her mental disorder. While court testimony previously revealed that Steyn had professed to possessing extreme supernatural power – including the ability to transform into a baby or a wolf – the accused killer said she could only talk about two of her alternate personalities. She also claimed she had the ability to travel to the moon. Cecilia Steyn told the court about Akeisha and Anya, two other ‘beings’ which would control her thoughts and actions. Steyn said that Anya was a three-year-old girl, pure in heart, while Akeisha was ‘dangerous’. During the ongoing trial, Cecilia Steyn revealed that she has a tattoo of the South African Communist Party (SACP) badge. Explaining her political affiliations to the court, Steyn said: “I have an SACP badge … I was a member of the SACP and the ANC Women’s League.”
[Nomahlubi Jordaan, “Life in jail for friends and neighbours guilty of Krugersdorp killing 'tsunami',” Sowetan Live, Aug. 19, 2019]
[Luke Daniel, “Krugersdorp Killers: Six of the strangest things we learnt about Cecilia Steyn,” The South African, Nov. 28, 2018]
[Riaan Grobler, “The Krugersdorp killings explained: Who was murdered, how, and why,” News24, Jun. 5, 2019]
[Priscillah Mueni, “Shocking facts about Krugersdorp killers full story.” Briefly, Aug. 20, 2019]
NOVEL BASED ON THE CASE:
Bianca Pheasant, Electus
per Deus, Jun. 9, 2017, B. Pheasant/Redwing Productions.
EXCERPT: Electus per Deus is a novel about a detective desperately trying to solve a series of occult murders. This type of plot is not uncommon for horror stories, or murder mysteries. What makes this particular novel special is that it was inspired by true events. True events that only came fully to light after the novel was first published.
When the police came across the novel, they were understandably a bit spooked to find many of the facts aligned with real life murders they were investigating – the Krugersdorp Murders! They immediately called the author, Bianca Pheasant, in for questioning. What they didn’t know was that she was good friends with one of the accused while at school, and was particularly good at guessing the rest of the information.
[“Author accidentally solves murder case” - Interview With Bianca Pheasant,” tallulahlucy.com, Jun 14, 2019]
Electus per Deus (2012) – 7 Cult Killers
Cecilia Steyn (ca 32 at time of first murder) – cult leader, Electus per Deus; policeman's wife and mother of two.
Marinda Steyn (ca 47) – former schoolteacher.
Marcel Steyn (ca 14 at time of first murder) – daughter of Marinda Steyn.
Le Roux Steyn (18 at time of first murder) – son of Marinda Steyn.
Zac Valentine (ca 27 at time of first murder?) – insurance broker.
Mikelia Valentine (23) – later murdered by the cult.
John Barnard (ca 47 at time of first murder) – printmaker. Joined cult in 2015.
Place: Krugersdorp, West Rand, Gauteng Province, South Africa
1980 – Cecilia born in Harrismith.
2001 – Cecilia marries Andries "Dries" Steyn.
2012 – Cecilia Steyn infiltrates a religious group called Overcomers Through Christ (OTC) under the guise of being in need of deliverance from Satanism. Valentine, his wife Mikeila and Marinda Steyn also joined the group.
July 2, 2012 – the group placed home-made bombs under the cars of people attending an OTC course, but were nearly spotted and fled before they could ignite the explosives.
July 2012 – the group started a fire and damaged windows at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Randburg. A note written by Cecilia was placed on the gate of the centre, which said: "Ria, who is going to protect you now?"
Jul. – Aug. 2012 – various threats were sent by SMS to OTC members and other people associated with Grunewald.
July 11, 2012 – Cecilia and her accomplices successfully set off explosives near cars at an OTC meeting.
Jul. 26, 2012 – Natacha Burger, 33, and Joyce Boonzaaier, 68, murdered; members of OTC church.
Aug. 14, 2012 – Pastor Reginald Bendixen, 75, OTC church; murdered; home in Honeydew; hit over the head with an axe and stabbed to death.
Oct. 11, 2012 – Mikeila Valentine (23), wife of Zak, travel agent, murdered; stabbed “close to 60 times,” “blood and intestines were splattered on the ceiling.”
Nov. 27, 2015 – Peter Meyer (51), and his wife, Joan (47), murdered; motive was burglary.
Dec. 16, 2015 – Jarod Mitchum Jackson (44), murdered; strangled and burnt to death in Zak Valentine's car in what turned out to be an attempted life insurance fraud.
Jan. 27, 2016 – Glen McGregor (57), tax consultant, murdered; strangled, shot in the stomach.
May 10, 2016 – Anthony Scholefield (64; 67?), broker; murdered; strangled. ("Scolefield" elsewhere)
May 26, 2016 – Kevin McAlpine (29), murdered.
May 31, 2016 – Hanlé Lategan (female) (52), murdered; gunshot.
Jun. 2016 – Marcel Steyn (18) and Le Roux Steyn (23) charged with murder.
Jul. 2016 – Zak Valentine, Cecilia Steyn and Marinda Steyn arrested.
Dec. 2017 – John Barnard (c 48) pleads guilty. He is sentenced to 30 years in jail, with 10 years suspended on condition he testify against the other accused.
Apr. 16, 2018 – Johannesburg, South Africa. Zak Valentine (33), Le Roux Steyn (22), Marinda Steyn (51), Cecilia Steyn (37) and Marcel Steyn (20), known as ‘Krugersdorp murderers’ are accused of murdering 11 people between 2012 and 2016.
May 16, 2018 – Marinda Steyn and Le Roux Steyn are jailed after admitting their guilt. Marinda is sentenced to 11 life sentences, Le Roux to an effective 25-year prison term.
Jun. 3, 2019 – Cecilia Steyn (38), Marcel Steyn (21) and Zak Valentine (34) are found guilty. The South Gauteng High Court.
Aug. 12, 2019 – Evidence in mitigation of sentence for the trio is expected to be heard in the Johannesburg high court.
Sep. 9, 2020 – John Wilburn Barnard (51) was tried in March and found guilty by a jury of sexual abuse of a minor, and sexual abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct. The trial lasted three days, according to court records. On Friday, Sept. 9, Washington County Circuit Judge Brett Wilson sentenced Barnard to 55 years in prison with 20 years suspended, according to court records.[Herald-Mail, Oct. 13, 2020]
Cecilia Steyn in her own words:
“… Cecilia, an alleged self-confessed witch, werewolf and vampire…” [“WATCH LIVE: Cecilia Steyn, alleged Krugersdorp murder mastermind, continues testimony, News24 (South Africa), Nov 28, 2018]
Testimony of Hannelie Scheepers (Marcel’s father’s ex-wife) on Cecilia Steyn’s character: “It was like, you know, she really liked the term ‘serial killer.’ Because she used it a lot. I’m thinking of the beginning of the year, when that person killed forty people in [inaudible], she said to me the he made her look like a tart, because he killed forty people, she only killed eleven.” [Krugersdorp killer 'liked the term serial killer', TimesLIVE Video (South Africa), Aug 13, 2019, 2:21]
Court Testimony: Nov. 20, 2018 – According to Candice Rajivec, a friend of Cecilia’s who testified, Cecilia told her that her birth was foretold and that she had to grow up in the occult in order to one day be able to open the gates to hell on earth. Cecilia said her whole family was part of the occult and she was abused not only as a child, but even when she was already married her father would “astral-project” to rape her by using her husband. At times he would send demons to rape her. Rajivec said one of Cecilia’s powers was astral projection and that she had even been to the moon. [“’Church’ killings Krugersdorp,” Onafhanklik, Jun. 24, 2019]
"Wherever I go they fall like flies," is one of many threatening messages Ria Grunewald got when she cut ties with Cecilia Steyn. [Nomahlubi Jordaan, “Death threats and church murders: Krugersdorp witness testifies,” Times Live (South Africa), Nov. 14, 2018]
For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers
For similar cases, see: Female Serial Killer Bandits
Links to more cases: Female Serial Killers Who Like to Murder Women