The Johannesburg man accused of faking sign language interpretation for President Obama and other world leaders was part of a mob who burned 2 thieves to death in 2003, the Associated Press reports.
Jantjie stood less than 3 feet away from President Obama, and other world leaders, who spoke at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service last week.
One of Jantjie’s cousins and three of his friends told the AP he was among a group of men who accosted two television thieves and placed tires around their necks before setting them on fire.
“It was a community thing, what you call mob justice, and I was also there,” Jantjie told the Sunday Times newspaper of Johannesburg.
Jantjie told reporters he suffered from Schizophrenia, and was violent in the past.
Jantjie never went to trial for the killings because a court found he was not mentally fit to stand trial. The other men went to trial and were convicted.
The bogus interpreter’s actions during the memorial service has caused great embarrassment to the South African government.
The government still has not explained how Jantjie gained access to Mandela’s memorial service.