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You smothered your wife with a pillow‚ prosecutor tells Jason Rohde

05 June 2018 - 11:29 By Aron Hyman
Property mogul Jason Rohde on the stand in the Cape Town High Court on May 29 2018. Rohde is accused of murdering his wife Susan. File photo.
Property mogul Jason Rohde on the stand in the Cape Town High Court on May 29 2018. Rohde is accused of murdering his wife Susan. File photo.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

Jason Rohde smothered his wife with a pillow “to shut her up”‚ says state prosecutor Louis van Niekerk.

During another day of cross-examination in the High Court in Cape Town on Tuesday‚ Rohde again denied murdering his wife‚ Susan‚ at Spier wine estate near Stellenbosch two years ago.

Rohde‚ former CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty‚ claims he found Susan hanging from a hair iron cord behind the bathroom door in the couple's hotel room.

The couple were attending a company conference‚ and after a prize-giving ceremony on Saturday July 23‚ they got into a heated argument over Rohde’s affair with his Cape Town mistress‚ estate agent Jolene Alterskye‚ who was also at the conference.

Rohde said he unintentionally made physical contact with Susan during the argument‚ and claims there was no evident injury from the impacts.

However‚ his defence team has previously argued that internal injuries‚ facial wounds and other bruising‚ evident in the post-mortem report‚ could be explained by Rohde's version of events leading up to her death.

This was an attempt to counter the state's argument that Rohde was an abusive husband‚ an allegation he denied.

Rohde’s testimony described a wife obsessed with her husband’s infidelity‚ which she discovered in February 2016. He said she became angry and sad and tried to piece together how he had been lying to her for more than a year.

He told her he had ended the relationship but he had rekindled it‚ and while attending marriage counseling sessions and seeing a psychologist‚ he continued to lead an adulterous double life.

Susan insisted on going to the company conference after she realised Alterskye would be there. Rohde claims her behaviour became angrier and more obsessive during the weekend‚ until she caught him trying to text Alterskye.

He says Susan became “apoplectic” with rage‚ and after he told her he was “done” with their marriage he went to sleep. When he woke up‚ Susan showed him messages sent to her by Alterskye‚ he said.

But Van Niekerk put forward a different version of events on Tuesday. “The state will argue that you did not go to sleep that night. After you came back from Jolene Alterskye you argued and at one stage you got so fed up that you just wanted her to shut up‚” he said.

Rohde interrupted‚ saying: “That is not true! That is not true! I’m not a murderer‚ for all my faults‚ I'm not a murderer.”

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe asked him to let Van Niekerk continue‚ and the prosecutor said: “You got so fed up that you smothered her with a pillow. After that you panicked and you tried to stage her suicide.”

The case continues.