Port Elizabeth - Two men charged with murdering 12-year-old Aaliyah “Angel” Tee did an about turn in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Friday when they opted to use the services of legal aid attorneys they had fired two days earlier.
The trial came to an abrupt halt earlier this week when Nealon Redhouse, 18, and Deon Harmse, 24, decided to fire their legal aid attorneys who had hardly begun with conducting their defence.
But on Friday, the men indicated that they could not come up with the funds for private legal counsels.
The two are also charged with the attempted murder of Angel's mother Candice and father, Edmund, who were wounded in the attack at their Barberry Street home in Bethelsdorp on June 7 last year.
Candice Tee has earlier been called to testify as a state witness. She told the court how Angel had pleaded with the men not to shoot her.
Tee said she immediately opened the bathroom window and started screaming for help to no avail. She said the next moment when she turned around she saw Redhouse and Harmse standing “three steps away” in front of the washing machine inside the bathroom. Tee told the court how she saw how Angel put her hands together in prayer and began begging the men, “please don’t shoot, please, don’t shoot”.
After that Tee said she grabbed Angel and they crouched down together at the toilet seat. Before kneeling down she said she saw Redhouse pointing a firearm at them. “I said Lord help us and at the same time I heard one of them saying ‘skiet my bra’ (shoot my brother).”
“We were kneeling at the toilet seat and I heard a shot go off and I passed out.Before I passed out, I heard a bomb sound against my head and warm blood was flowing over me”.
After Tee regained consciousness she said she tried to lift her head but was not sure if she had been shot. She then turned to the side and saw her daughter lying on the ground.
“I looked to my left and saw Aaliyah lying on the ground, I was on my knees. I took my hand and saw that there was blood coming out of her ear. I said ‘take her Lord, she is yours’. "
Candice also told the court that a month before her daughter's killing, she had witnessed a shooting at a shop across her home. The shooting involved the murder of notorious Port Elizabeth gangster Donovan "Staal" Berry.
Candice said that she had saw three of the shooters and at the time did not know that Berry had been killed. She said at the time of Berry's shooting Angel was at school. Since the incident, the Tee family has been placed in the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) witness protection programme. Redhouse and Harmse have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The trial resumes on Wednesday.