Krugersdorp murders - 'Your memory is failing'‚ state witness told
A defence attorney in the Krugersdorp murder trial asked why the memory of a state witness appeared to be failing in the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday afternoon.
Advocate Amanda Nel‚ acting for Zak Valentine‚ argued that state witness Le Roux Steyn's memory of events was vague.
"At times you say 'I don't know' or 'I can't remember'. I would say that you have difficulty to remember. Why is your memory failing you?" Nel asked Le Roux.
A confident Le Roux denied being unable to recall the exact details of certain murders.
Nel cross-examined Le Roux in the trial of Cecilia Steyn‚ 37‚ Valentine‚ 33‚ and Marcel Steyn‚ 20‚ who pleaded not guilty to 32 counts‚ including murder‚ robbery with aggravating circumstances‚ fraud and intimidation.
Former high school teacher Marinda Steyn‚ 51‚ was sentenced to 11 life terms for the Krugersdorp murder spree.
Le Roux was also part of the group‚ but entered into a plea bargain with the state in May. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison for each of the seven counts of murder he was convicted of.
Ten years of his sentence were suspended on condition that he testifies in the trial.
They were part of the Electus Per Deus (Chosen by God) group. The group is accused of murdering 11 people between 2012 and 2016.
In December 2016‚ 42-year-old John Barnard was sentenced to 20 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to 13 charges‚ including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He will also be a state witness.
Nel said Valentine denied having any involvement in the making of homemade explosive devices that were used and detonated to cause damage to vehicles belonging to persons attending an Overcomers Through Christ course in Noordheuwel‚ Krugersdorp‚ back in 2012.
"I would say that would be a lie‚" Le Roux said.
Nel said that Valentine also denied being part of the murders of Natacha Burger‚ an active member of Overcomers Through Christ‚ and her friend Joy Boonzaier.
Valentine also denied being part of the murder of Peter Meyer and his wife Joan‚ Mikeila Valentine and Jarod Jackson.
Mikeila was the wife of Valentine‚ who was murdered in 2012‚ when she wanted to leave the group.
Le Roux was adamant that Valentine was part of all the murders. He said Valentine had used his work as an alibi for the murder of Mikeila. "He works every day so to say he was at work was his alibi."
"I heard that my mother also hit Mikeila with a hammer over her head‚" he said.
Le Roux said Valentine was the one who stabbed Meyer and his wife at their home in Noordheuwel in Krugersdorp. The group made it seem like a robbery.
Nel said Valentine claimed that he was not part of the planning or the execution of the murder of Jackson. Valentine said that he was also a victim of the incident.
Le Roux denied these claims. He told the court that Valentine had suggested that they should murder Jackson to claim his life policy at Discovery.
"Jarod walked past us and then Zak [Valentine] asked: 'Why don't we take Jarod?'"
"If you didn't find Jarod [Jackson]‚ what would have happened?" Nel asked.
Le Roux replied: "It wouldn't have happened."
He told the court in most of the murders he had committed‚ he had used nylon rope to avoid decapitation.
Nel argued that Valentine was the breadwinner of the 'ministry' and that he was "sucked dry by Cecilia".
Le Roux agreed‚ saying that Valentine bought all the cars and made sure that there was food on the table.
"What did he [Valentine] gain?" Nel asked. "He [Valentine] didn't gain anything‚" Le Roux replied.
The trial continues on Friday.