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A white South African farmer and his employee were convicted Thursday of attacking a black worker and throwing him into a lion enclosure in a case that shocked a nation still coming to terms with its apartheid past.

Judge George Maluleke, in the northern town of Phalaborwa, ruled that Mark Scott-Crossley and Simon Mathebula were guilty of murder in the January 2004 death of Nelson Chisale.

Chisale, 41, had been fired two months earlier, apparently for running a personal errand on work time. He was attacked when he returned to Scott-Crossley's farm to collect belongings. Chisale was beaten with machetes, tied up and driven in Scott-Crossley's truck to a lion preserve and thrown over the fence.

Both Scott-Crossley and Mathebula had pleaded not guilty, and each had tried to blame the other for the killing.

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