Jason Rohde's former colleague testifies in his murder trial
Cape Town - International property mogul and murder accused Jason Rohde’s former colleague who was also at the company’s annual conference at the Spier Wine Estate in July 2016 and in the hours leading up to the death of Rohde’s wife, gave evidence in the Western Cape High court on Wednesday.
Brendan Miller, a former colleague of Jason Rohde, the former CEO of Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s International Realty, who is accused of the murder of his wife Susan Rohde, was cross examined on what transpired on the night before Susan was found dead in the hotel room she shared with her husband.
Susan's body was found hanging by her neck by an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door on July 24, 2016. The State has argued that Jason Rohde murdered his wife and staged her suicide, while the defence insists the tragedy was a suicide.
Miller told the court that he left the company function on the night before Susan Rohde's death a little bit earlier and went to the hotel's middle bar and had few drinks before he left with a colleague back to his room.
“And we were sitting having a glass of wine and Jolene Alterskye arrived, we were there for a couple of minutes and Jason Rohde arrived, followed a few seconds later by Susan Rohde,” the court heard.
Cape Town estate agent Alterskye was Jason Rohde's mistress who was also at the conference.
“He (Jason) walked in and he sat down on the bed closest to the bathroom. To my recollection, he and Susan walked in at the same time and she kinda walked halfway down the passage and called on Jason. I offered Jason a drink, he said 'yes' and he sat down. She just repeated saying 'Jason, Jason' and he got up and left,” said Miller.
Asked by defence Advocate Graham van der Spuy to tell the court if he had witnessed any physical contact between Susan and her husband in the room, Miller replied: "No, not at all.”
Further asked by Advocate Van der Spuy if he could recall the atmosphere in the room at that moment, he said "it was a bit awkward and everybody was quiet" because they never expected Jason Rohde and Alterskye to come to the room after there had been speculation about their affair.
He told the court that he had sent Jason Rohde a message to find out if he was “okay” after he left with his wife, and got a reply after seven in the morning saying: “Drama, but okay."
African News Agency/ANA