Cape Town - Spier murder accused Jason Thomas Rohde brought his A game to the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, denying he played any role in the death of his wife, Susan.
In an unusual move, the Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby's International Reality, South Africa, laid bare his defence to the court. Rohde has known for the last month he was a suspect in Susan’s murder and hired an investigation team, including two private investigators, a digital investigator and an independent pathologist, and a team of five lawyers to help him prove his claim he did not kill her.
The court heard the pathologist concluded Susan committed suicide because there was no “definitive fracture of the hyoid bone or the thyroid cornua” – an injury that usually occurred with manual strangulation.
The private investigation team also picked up “sloppy and inept” police work because the window of the bathroom where his wife’s body was found, had been left open and anybody could gain access to the crime scene. In addition, Rohde provided the State and the court with a report from a marriage counsellor expressing fears that Susan was a suicide risk and advising immediate counselling, and proof of her life policies excluded a payout in the event of suicide.
He told the court he had co-operated with the police from the day his wife was found dead, making himself available to investigators in Cape Town on three separate occasions, providing them with her cellphone and password, and handing over the Rohde family laptop and password.