South African judge mulls mercy in ax murder sentencing

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A South African judge says he is searching for some reason to offer a measure of mercy when sentencing a 23-year-old man convicted of the ax murders of his parents and brother.

Judge Siraj Desai on Tuesday appealed to the lawyer for Henri van Breda to provide a "human factor" that diminishes the gruesome nature of the attacks "to some degree."

Desai, who will announce the sentence Thursday, says van Breda's parole chances in a couple of decades could be affected by whether he gets more than one life sentence.

Van Breda was also convicted of the attempted murder of his sister at the time of the 2015 attacks at an upscale housing estate in Stellenbosch.

The court said van Breda inflicted injuries on himself to try to mislead police.