Family were shot several times

2012-08-24 00:00

DEON (44), Christel (43) and Marthella Steenkamp (14) were first shot with one firearm and then with another of a different calibre.

This emerged in testimony by Colonel Dick de Waal, who investigated the murders of the family near Griekwastad in the Northern Cape on Good Friday.

A 16-year-old boy is applying for bail.

Yesterday, he showed emotion for the first time, becoming tearful when told he would have to stay in detention until September 3 to learn if he would be granted bail.

De Waal said Deon and Marthella were also hit in the back of their heads with a blunt object.

De Waal, chief of the Hawks in the Northern Cape, called the killings “executions by someone who wanted to make sure at any price that they were dead”.

He said the boy should be denied bail. “My concern is: who will be safe near him?”

The teen has access to weapons and a few weeks ago went hunting and shot a kudu.

De Waal testified that the Steenkamps were all first shot with a .357 revolver and then with a .22 firearm.

Marthella was shot four times, twice in the head and twice in the body.

Deon was shot in the shoulder, side and left ear, while Christel was shot in the neck and chest.

De Waal said there was strong evidence, including an admission by the boy himself, that he was the only other person on the farm at the time.

The morning after the crime, the boy said in a text message to a girlfriend that he was a suspect because his fingerprints were on the scene. He also wrote that he was the only other person there.

Only the fingerprints of the victims and the boy were found on pieces of evidence.

De Waal said the collection and testing of evidence was done very thoroughly. No forensic evidence indicated the presence of anyone else at the crime scene.

A total of 72 DNA and fingerprint DNA tests were done.

Tests on a torn T-shirt of the boy found on the farm found splashes of Marthella’s blood, which indicated a struggle had occurred.

A shirt he was wearing on the evening of the murders was tested for gunpowder residue.

De Waal said the boy continuously protested his innocence on the evening of the killings.

He had scratches on his neck, blood on his ankle and blood on his chin, which was found to be Marthella’s.

De Waal told the court that when the boy was being driven to Kimberley after his arrest this week, he smiled when he heard a news report about the arrest on the radio.

Prosecutor J.J. Cloete said the boy opted not to testify or offer a statement of innocence to the court. Those who testified on his behalf also did not declare his innocence.

He said the police investigation was almost complete and the trial could take place in the high court in the last two weeks of the year.

He added that the boy could continue his schooling in the youth corrections centre at Kimberley, and it was not a foregone concusion that his school would have him back if he were to be released.

The boy’s lawyer, advocate Willem Coetzee, argued that the boy would not flee or interfere with witnesses. Since he was told in May that he was a suspect, his behaviour had not altered, he said.

He had access to weapons and had not done anything untoward, Coetzee argued.

He said De Waal had nothing but circumstantial evidence and was plucking things “from the air”, placing too much stress on the gruesome aspects of the case.

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