What you need to know about the Griekwastad murder case

Marthella Steenkamp (RIGHT) (14) and her parents, Deon (44) and Christelle Steenkamp (43).

Marthella Steenkamp (RIGHT) (14) and her parents, Deon (44) and Christelle Steenkamp (43).

The trial of the minor that is accused of killing Marthella Steenkamp (14) and her parents, Deon (44) and Christelle Steenkamp (43), is due to resume in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday.

There was a lot of speculation surrounding the trial that was postponed in November last year after the accused, a 17-year old boy (16 at the time of the murders), dismissed his legal team shortly before judgement. He claimed it was due to ‘insurmountable differences’. The accused took to the stand and maintained his innocence throughout the trial despite state prosecutor Hannes Cloete pointing out several discrepancies between his version of events and evidence collected from the scene.

Here is what you need to know if you want to follow the case this week.

The accused says:  

–          He was outside the house in the barn when he heard shots.

–          He stayed in barn until shots died down, then went into the house to see Deon and Christelle dead.

–          He also saw Marthella, who was still alive. He tried to pick her up but she died in his arms.

–          When she died, she fell to the ground and ‘grabbed his shirt’, causing it to tear.

–          He then drove away to warn the farm workers, at which time he heard more shots.

–          When exiting the farm, he found the discarded weapons at the farm gate. He picked them up and took them with to the police station, where he handed in the weapons and told police there had been a farm attack at the house.

The state says:

–          Ballistics show that both guns that were handed in were used in the murders, thereby making it impossible for the boy to have heard more shots after he drove off and then found the guns.

–          Evidence suggests Marthella was raped in the 24 hours before her death

–          The accused has admitted that he and Marthella had a fight shortly before the murders, but has not provided an explanation.

–          Blood splatter analysis does not correlate with his version of Marthella grabbing his shirt; Experts also testified that Marthella would in all likelihood have been too weak to tear his shirt just before dying, and that blood splatter and prints found outside the house, in front of the barn, suggest that Marthella received her fatal wounds before she entered the house. It would therefore have been impossible for the boy not to have heard her being attacked from where he was hiding in the barn, as he claims.

–          Another bloodstained shirt was found in one of the rooms. The accused has admitted that this was his shirt, which he changed before going to the police station ‘because it was covered in blood.’ The state claims this was an attempt to hide his guilt.

–          The motive for the murders was that the accused had been the one to rape Marthella, that she had threatened to tell or had told her parents, and that he had shot them all to cover this up.

–          The fact that Marthella was involved in a struggle prior to her death, unlike her parents, is puzzling and supports the theory that the murders had something to do with her rape.

–          The accused’s story has changed several times since giving his initial statement, and it is alleged that he had asked someone how much he would inherit two days after the murders, suggesting that he is guilty of premeditated murder.

The new defence attorney appointed by the boy’s guardian is Riaan BodeJudge-President Frans Kgomo presides over the case in the Northern-Cape high court in Kimberley which will resume Tuesday, 18 March.

– Dalena Theron