Shop killer ‘followed King David’s God’
Those close to murder-accused Zarn Tarapata have spoken of his fixation with the Old Testament as told in the High Court in Auckland last Friday.
The jury heard that hours after Tarapata, 27, stabbed two pawn shop workers to death in July 2014, he told his father he ‘‘followed King David’s God’’ and that his name was Israel. Tarapata’s father, Stephen Tarapata, also told the court his son had accused him of having sex with Tamara Cassie — partner of the accused and the mother of his children.
Tamara, who was working at the pawn shop at the time of the killings, said messages from God — including one informing Tarapata that Cassie was having an affair with one or both of her murdered colleagues — ‘‘had become normal’’ for the stay-athome dad.
Defence lawyer Jonathan Krebs argued Tarapata was legally insane when he killed Paul Matthews, 47, and Paul Fanning, 69, who were eating noodles in the lunchroom at Ezy Cash on Great South Road in Takanini, south Auckland. In the space of three minutes Fanning was stabbed six times around the head and chest, while Matthews was stabbed 15 times in similar areas, and also had his throat cut.
Krebs noted that Tarapata told his parents he had shunned the New Testament ‘‘of love and forgiveness’’ in favour of the ‘‘fire and brimstone’’ Old Testament, and ‘‘did not accept Jesus’’.
Crown prosecutor Richard Marchant said ‘‘delusional jealousy’’ motivated the stabbings: Tarapata’s partner of seven years Cassie said Tarapata believed she was sexually involved with one or both of the victims.
Cassie testified she had never been sexually involved with either Fanning or Matthews.
But ‘‘Zarn said that God had told him me and his friend were sleeping together,’’ she told the court on Thursday.
Cassie said her partner’s ’’paranoia and changes in behaviour’’ had led her to suspect he was suffering from a mental illness before the stabbings. She said he had become increasingly fixated with reading his bible: ‘‘I know for a fact that everything Zarn read in the bible he believed was true,’’ she said.
The trial, which is ongoing, began at the High Court in Auckland last Thursday morning before Justice Simon Moore, with a jury of three men and nine women. Tarapata has pleaded not guilty to the murders.