“Wollie” Wolmarans is back on the stand for more direct examination. They pick up with his findings from his report.
They begin with bullet hole B which he believes caused the right upper arm wound. The wounds that were seen on the upper right anterior chest could be related to entrance and exit wounds to the right upper arm. The height of these wounds is approximately 117cm above the heel of the right foot, according to Saayman’s measurements.
There were secondary wounds seen around the entrance on the arm which was likely caused by wood splintering. On the underside of the arm were one very large exit wound and a smaller exit wound caused by the humerus bone being fractured and fragments exiting. However, there were no small secondary wounds from wood splintering seen on the underside of the arm since that portion of the arm was facing inward toward her chest. There were also wood splinters found in the right forearm.
Wollie reiterates that the pattern of the splintering on the arm is consistent with the arm being 6-20cm away from the door, as shown on the witness boards in their testing.
The head wound could have been caused by bullet hole C or D. It is Wollie’s opinion that the deceased was not in a standing position when the head wounds were inflicted. This is due to the fact that the holes in the door are in a lower position, maximum height 104cm.
The wounds are consistent with the deceased falling down in the right side area of the toilet bowl. Due to the absence of abrasions or secondary wounds to the head and face, it can be inferred that the deceased was probably further than 60cm away from the door at the time of sustaining the head wounds.
The wound to the webbing on the left hand could have been caused by bullet hole C or D. It could have gone through the webbing and hit mark E on the wall… Or…. It could have been the bullet that caused the head wound. If it was the one that caused the head wound then he does not believe that the left hand was on her head at the time, as testified by Mangena.
Wollie says that if the hand was on the head then he would have expected the exit wound to cause secondary injuries to the inside of her hand since there were fragments of bullet exiting from that wound.
Furthermore, if the hand was covering part of the head then he would not have expected the brain tissue to have traveled as far as it did against the toilet lid. The hand would have blocked it and the matter would be on the inside of the hand which it was not.
There was also a lack of secondary wounds by wood splintering on the left hand, therefore the hand was likely more than 60cm away from the door when hit.
According to Mangena, the only bullet that could have caused the injury to Reeva’s back was the bullet that impacted at mark E on the wall and ricocheted to mark F.
Although Wollie disagrees that a ricocheting bullet caused the injury to the back, he does agree with Mangena that none of the bullets that hit Reeva in the hip, arm and head could have impacted the wall at mark E or F. He believes that the two abrasions on Reeva’s back were consistent with her falling against a hard, blunt surface. He does not believe that the bullet that hit at mark E and ricocheted to F could have caused that back injury.
The following bullet fragments listed below were found by police. (Each unused bullet has a total of 6 grooves):
• Fragment B1 is a fragmented jacket. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 13.3 grains. It was found next to the cricket bat in the bathroom.
• Fragment B2 is a fragmented jacket. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 9.8 grains. It was found between the toilet door and the toilet bowl. (If standing looking at the bowl, it was to the left of the bowl)
• Fragment B3 is part of a jacket and a fragmented core. The combined weight is 47 grains. It was found at the entrance to the toilet room, on the right hand side, close to the door frame.
• Fragment B4A is a fragmented jacket. It has 3 grooves. It weighed 13.7 grains.
• Fragment B4B is a fragmented jacket. It has 4 grooves. It weighed 11.5 grains.
• Fragments B4A and B4B cannot be from the same bullet as they have a combined total of 7 grooves, which is one too many for a full bullet.
• Fragment B4C is a fragmented core. It weighed 20.1 grains. According to Mangena this is a fragment of the bullet from the head wound, and Wollie agrees.
• Fragment B4D is a fragmented core. It weighed 13.2 grains.
• Fragment H is a fragmented jacket that was found in the vest (tank top) of the deceased. It has 2 grooves. It weighed 17.2 grains.
• Fragment J had a core that weighed 70.5 grains, and its fragmented jacket weighed 23.1 grains. Combined weight is 93.6 grains. This was found in the head of the deceased. It is likely that fragment B4C is the remaining portion of the core from the same bullet.
• Fragment K is the core that was found in the toilet bowl by Wollie. The weight was 65.9 grains.
Wollie refers now to a photo that has 3 circles, depicting 3 fragments that were found. However, he states that the exhibit that was given to him by Mangena had 4 fragments, not 3. He believes that one of the dots seen at the top of the photo is a fragment and was not captured in this photo.
He is now going through all of the fragments listed above and linking them to the wounds.
The bullet that caused the hip wound did not exit. No fragments were retrieved from that wound.
The bullet that caused the head wound consisted of fragment B4C and fragment J. The combined weight was 113.7 grains. That leaves 13.3 grains of the bullet that were unaccounted for.
The bullet that penetrated the right upper arm and caused the injuries to the upper chest would have broken up once it penetrated flesh and bone. He says that a Ranger bullet would have reacted the same as a Black Talon, so it sounds like he is saying that Oscar actually used Ranger bullet(s) not Black Talons. The bullet that hit her arm consisted of Fragment H. The remaining portion of the bullet fragments were unaccounted for and would have been very small.
Fragment K, which impacted at mark E and F (the one that Mangena states hit Reeva’s back), was found in the toilet bowl. The remaining portion of this bullet may be B4A and B4D… Or… B4B and B4D.
The bullet that hit at E and ricocheted to F, would have lost most of its energy once it impacted at point F, and fallen in to the toilet bowl along with a piece of tile. It would not have enough remaining energy to cause the back injuries, nor would it have been able to hit the back and then bounce off her in to the toilet. This trajectory would not be possible according to Wollie.
Wollie says that if the back had been hit by bullet fragments, the fragments would have damaged the fabric of the top which it did not do. The wounds are also inconsistent with wounds caused by this type of ammunition.
Wollie’s conclusion is that the back wounds were caused by the back coming in to contact with a hard surface while falling down. The only thing that could have caused them was the magazine rack. He points out that Saayman’s report stated that the injuries could have been caused by a blunt object.
For the bullet injuries, Wollie came to the following conclusions:
The pattern of wood splinters from the door on the hip and the indicate that Reeva was in close proximity to the door when she received those injuries. The distance of her arm from the door was probably between 6 and 20cm.
When Reeva sustained the wounds to her head and left finger, she was not in close promixity to the door according to the absence of secondary abrasions that would have been caused by wood splinters. He is uncertain which bullet caused the injury to the web of the left finger but it would probably be B. Or it could have also been in line with the bullet that hit her in the head.
According to the trajectories of the bullet holes in the door, Wollie agrees with Mangena that the accused was on his stumps when the shots were fired. The version of the accused, that he shot from the entrance to the bathroom, is consistent with the trajectories. Primer residue was also found on the light switch by the police. The cartridges found near the entrance to the bathroom also support his shooting position.
Wollie agrees with Vermuelen that the cricket bat was used to strike the upper door panel of the toilet door, in order to break it open. He also agrees with Vermuelen that the door was first damaged by the four shots that perforated the door, and then after by the cricket bat.
On March 21, 2014, at 21:00, sound recordings of a cricket bat and 9mm gun were conducted at the Bluegum Valley Shooting Range. (Remember, this is AFTER the trial had already begun.) The purpose of this testing was to determine the resemblance, if any, to the sounds of the cricket bat striking the door and the firearm firing shots.
They used a door that was removed from the Silverwoods estate. The firearm used was a Taurus 9mm pistol. The ammunition was 127 grain Ranger without the black tip.
They recorded the sounds of the bat striking the door, and the firearm shooting from 60 meters and 180 meters from the door.
The following people were involved in conducting these tests and recordings: Dixon, van der Westhuisen, Andre Hertha, Mr. Hertha’s assistant Dick Smith and Wollie. Hertha from Montana Studios performed the sound recordings. Wollie gives details to the court about the type and brand of recording equipment used.
Wollie then states that the firearm malfunctioned after each shot resulting in only one shot that could be recorded at the time with manual reloading. In order to record shots fired in quick succession, a second recording was conducted on April 9, 2014, at the same shooting range and by using the same recording equipment. The new gun used was similar to the Taurus previously used. The cricket bat was not used. The people present were Andre Hertha, Rikus Kruger, and Wollie.
On March 21, 2014, during the testing, Wollie positioned himself at each distance. At both distances, the door was struck by the cricket bat and a shot was also fired. Wollie states that although he is not a sound expert, as a ballistics expert he can say that the sounds made by the cricket bat resembled the sound made by the firearm, although not as loud. He must also point out that he has Tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears) caused by experiencing a lot of shooting in his career. So his hearing is impaired.
Roux asks Wollie what his involvement was in the testing of the piece of prosthetic foot. He says he went with van der Westhuisen on February 27, 2013, to Arnold Pistorius’ house and van der Westhuisen cut the piece out of the right foot on the prosthesis. He stored it in an envelope, sealed it and marked it. The piece was given to Wollie. On March 1, 2013, Wollie gave it back to van der Westhuisen and he then gave it to Dixon. Roux asks if they confirmed that the leg was indeed the leg that was worn on February 13 and 14, 2013, and Wollie says “that’s what he told me.”
Roux rests and Nel is up.
The State begins by taking the Judge and her assessors on a field trip to the door in court. Mangena has his laser pointer set up to demonstrate the bullet hole B trajectory through the door. The red piece of tape depicts mark E on the wall.
Roux wants to put on record that hole B aligns with mark E from where the laser was placed. He assumes that the laser test was also done with the other bullet holes in relation to mark E.
Nel asks Wollie if he was in court when Professor Botha testified. He says yes. He was also in court for a portion of the time when Roger Dixon testified. Nel says that Dixon was excused from court on April 16, 2014, and he notices that Wollie’s report was dated April 23, 2014. Nel wants to know if this is the only report he furnished, or just the latest. Wollie says it was an on-going report.
Wollie states that when he first arrived on the scene to conduct his investigation, the scene was not in the same condition anymore. He mostly gave verbal reports to the legal team. As the investigation went on and he got more information, he made his report. Nel asks if he furnished other written reports that he had signed off on and gave to the Defense. Wollie answers, “not really.” Nel wants to know what “not really” means. Wollie stumbles and repeats that most of his reports were verbal, but this report he wrote and he kept the Defense informed as he went on. He was tripping over his words and I really got the impression that he didn’t want to answer that question directly.
Nel tells him this is not a difficult question and he hasn’t answered it. Wollie says he thinks he has answered it but the Judge interjects because she was obviously not satisfied with his answer. Even speaking with her, Wollie stutters more than usual and can’t give a direct answer. He explains that he worked on the report as he went along. And then he throws out there that his English is not very good. It totally reminded me of how when Oscar was cornered by a question on the stand, he would either cry, say he made a mistake or say that he “didn’t have time to think.” It’s that same nervous deflection that Wollie is doing here. He even giggles as he is trying to explain his reports to the Judge.
So Nel says, I hear your answer and you are telling us that you have furnished written, signed reports to the Defense before this one. Wollie answers that he’s never signed another report, he just sent some notes at one or two stages to the legal team. The same answer that Roger Dixon gave on the stand. Nel doesn’t want to talk about notes, he wants to talk about reports. Has he furnished a report to the Defense prior to this one? Wollie shakes his head and says, “not that I can remember.”
How freaking hard is it to remember when or if you sent a report to the Defense team that hired you? The frequency of evasiveness in this Defense team is very troubling. I really think that Wollie is full of it when he says that he didn’t do a report prior to this one from April 2014. Does he really expect the Judge to believe that the Defense ballistics expert did not have a report ready prior to the beginning of trial? Remember, trial started in March 2014. His report was dated and signed just two weeks ago.
Finally… Wollie admits that there was another written report prior to this one that was furnished to the Defense. Nel asks for a copy; Wollie says he doesn’t have one. Nel asks, why? Why would you not want us to see your earlier report? Wollie seems very annoyed, he says that most of it was to amend mistakes… nothing was really different… he repeated himself in one spot and he edited it.
Wollie is completely bamboozled as to why the court would want to see his earlier report. Nel asks, “as an expert, you wouldn’t mind the courts to see the reports that you furnished?” Wollie is trying to explain that his science is like building a puzzle. As it went on, things have changed.
Now, I certainly can’t read body language, it’s just my speculation, but the Judge looked pretty annoyed to me during this exchange. I can’t imagine she is happy with yet another late set of reports from the Defense.
Nel says, this is why we want to see your earlier report. The court should be able to see how your views have changed over time. Wollie says the first time he went to the scene, the door was not there nor were the exhibits there. He couldn’t come to any conclusion with a scene that was not complete. Wollie says he was originally hired just to determine if Oscar was on his stumps and from what distance he fired the gun. The other stuff came later on.
Nel asks him, as an independent expert consultant, does he have a filing system in his office? Wollie says that his filing system is on his computer “most of the time.” Again… Nel wants to know what “most of the time” means. Why can’t he give a direct answer? He asks again, do you have a filing system? Wollie answers, no.
Nel asks him if the court wanted to gain access to his original reports, how would they do that? Wollie says he altered it because of his English and he was assisted to alter his report. Wollie then says he discussed the report with them (the Defense), but he’s not sure that he handed it to them.
He remembers there was a consultation with Oldwage and the report was just briefly discussed. After more prodding by Nel, Wollie says the report was on his computer. Nel asks if he emailed it to the Defense. Wollie says it was too big to email. Nel asks if he saved that copy. Wollie says no, he altered it.
Good grief. This is painful!
Nel asks him quite directly – “did you change your report because of consultation?” Wollie is still stuttering all over the place and says he has already told the court that he was helped with his English but he was never asked to alter his report to suit the Defense case.
Nel asks about the sound tests done on March 21, 2014. He wants to know if this was the first time they tested the bat and gun sounds? Wollie answers yes, he cannot recall doing any other tests with a bat and a gun prior to that. Nel asks did you do any other sound tests prior to that? Wollie answers at that stage there was a person who had done some decibel tests on hitting the door. Nel looks pretty shocked by this information.
Nel wants to know when this test was done. Wollie says he would need to look up the date but it was probably about two months ago. Nel asks if he was present. He says he was present. It was done at Arnold Pistorius’ house.
A similar door was inserted in to a door frame and a cricket bat was used to hit the door. Unfortunately the test did not work out because the door was not fitted properly and it moved. The whole exercise was a mishap. Wollie says he was not a part of the test, he was just present. He reminds the court that he’s not a sound expert. Nel tells him that he’s not going to test him on anything as far as sound is concerned, but has some questions relating to his physical presence at the test.
Nel wants to know who was present for the test. Wollie believes a Mr. Milan(?), an artisan who helped to fit the door in to the frame, Oscar, Uncle Arnold, and Wollie.
Oscar was the one who hit the door with the bat for the test. Wollie says again, he cannot testify about the decibel tests done but the reason why the test was done there was because they wanted to do it inside in a room.
Nel asks if there were decibel tests done when they were at the shooting range both times. Wollie says no. He wants to point out to the Judge again that he is not a sound expert. He was only there at those tests to supervise and provide direction. The idea of the tests at the range only came up because of a video that was seen on YouTube. Here is the video.
Roux does not look thrilled at this discussion.
Nel asks Wollie if he met with Dixon after he was excused from court on April 16, 2014. Wollie says yes. Dixon had a thorough cross-examination and Wollie thought he would take him for a beer. He met with him one more time after that, possibly twice. One time was at his house and another time was somewhere he can’t remember. He’s getting squirmy again.
Nel asks if he discussed the case with Dixon. Wollie says it’s highly improbable that they didn’t discuss the matter. Nel wants to know if after hearing Dixon’s evidence, did he change anything in his report. Wollie says it’s a possibility that he’s changed things in his report but not after he discussed things with Dixon. He says “Mr. Dixon is not a ballistics expert so I would not take his advice to change my report.”
Nel says, that’s interesting. So the court should throw out everything Dixon said about ballistics? More stuttering and more confusion from Wollie. Ultimately Wollie says that Dixon may have his opinion on the ballistics, but it would not be the same as his opinion.
Nel asks Wollie if he consulted with Oscar about the shooting incident. He answers that he first met Oscar the day when the piece of his prosthetic foot was cut out. They were not there for more than an hour. He also took a measurement of the height of Oscar’s arm with and without the prosthesis on. Up until today, he has never consulted with Oscar. But… Oscar was present at consultation where questions were put to him by the legal team, but he has never consulted with him directly on what happened that night. That’s a crafty way of getting info out of Oscar without having to say you consulted with him.
As Nel is asking Wollie more questions about the interaction he had with Oscar during consultation, Wollie mentions that at one point he (Wollie) was talking about something and pulled up a picture of the deceased on his phone. Oscar went out of the room to vomit and never came back.
This makes Nel pretty angry. He says that Wollie is showing his bias and he just wanted to tell the court that Oscar vomited. Wollie says he is not biased. He sees himself as a witness of the court and he’s there to assist wherever he can. He says he’s never lied in court.
Nel asks him if a court has ever rejected his evidence. Wollie recounts that there were a few cases where his evidence was rejected, one very recently, but he can’t say which ones they were. Nel tells the court which case it was recently and Wollie tries to explain the situation. It was a case that Mangena testified in as well. Mangena listens on with an interesting look.
Nel says on March 8, 2013, Wollie went to the crime scene and Mangena was there. Mangena reconstructed the scene. Wollie made observations while he was there and he took photographs as well. He gave verbal reports to the Defense of what was done that day.
Nel wants to know who gave Wollie the information about Oscar’s position in the bathroom when he fired the shots. Wollie answers, Mangena gave him that information. Wollie primarily agreed with Mangena on Oscar’s position when he fired.
Nel shows Wollie the photo of Mangena’s laser at the crime scene and wants to know if he agrees that Oscar shot from this position. Wollie says this is approximately the position. He can’t say exactly, but yes it is approximately correct.
The next photo shows the laser again, this time with the door closed.
The laser is positioned at exactly 2.2 meters and it is going through hole B. Wollie hasn’t measured the distances but he’ll accept that what Nel is telling him is correct. He also adds in that he has great respect for Mangena, and believes Mangena has the same for him.
Nel points out on the photo that if Oscar were to move any more to the right, the wall (separating the sinks and the passageway) would be in the way. Wollie agrees; Oscar would be going out the passage at that point if he moved more to the right.
Nel then says if you moved the laser slightly forward and to the right to go through hole C, you will not hit mark E. Wollie goes around and around with Nel on whether or not this is possible and can’t really answer the question. So Nel asks him a different way. He asks, do you agree with Mangena that bullet hole A hit Reeva in the hip. He agrees. They all agree that was the first shot.
Oscar seems really annoyed now, hand leaning on his head, waving his hand towards his attorneys and I believe he passed a note too. Maybe he’s not enjoying the Wollie show so much at this point.
Nel then establishes with Wollie that Reeva would have collapsed and fell to the right after the hip shot.
He also establishes that two more shots hit her, one in the head and one in the arm (he instructs Wollie to forget about the finger for now). Wollie agrees with all thus far. Nel goes on to say that we all agree in all probability that the head shot was last.
Nel then says that Dixon gave evidence that his version was bullet hole C caused mark E. Wollie says his opinion is that it was C or D, but he can’t say specifically that it was C. Wollie won’t say that Dixon is wrong, he’ll only say he’s half way wrong (and he giggles).
Nel wants Wollie to act out Reeva’s movements as she is shot. Wollie says he can, but he can’t move well due to a recent back operation. So he mainly just acts out the arm shot.
Wollie points out that hole A hit her in the right hip and then she would be falling, but hole B needs to line up with her right arm wound and the exit wound on the arm needs to line up with the abrasions on her chest… so she needs to be leaning over in order for these things to line up.
Nel points out that if the bullet from hole B hit her right arm at 6-20cm away from the door as she is falling over, and all of the holes line up properly there is no place for her head to go. It would be through the wall. Wollie doesn’t understand. My opinion, he chooses not to understand… or he’s too rusty at this point to pick up on these important details.
Wollie can’t figure out any other way the splinters could be around the arm wound other than her being close to the door.
They look at the next photo which shows the rods in the door as seen from inside the toilet room and they point out hole B (the second from the right).
Nel takes him through his sequence of positions again and ultimately points out that if her right side is facing the door and she is falling down, she could never have ended up where she ended on top of the toilet. Wollie disagrees. He says anything could have happened in that toilet room.
Nel tells him he’s right, anything is possible in the world. But the court deals with probabilities, not possibilities.
Wollie believes that these shots happened in quick succession. Nel asks him why. He says, for all of this to happen. Nel wants to know if he asked Oscar how he fired. He says no. Nel also asks Wollie if he was present in court when Oscar explained how he fired. Wollie says no he was not in court during that time. Nel wants to know, outside of court, wouldn’t it have been important for him to know how Oscar fired? Wollie believes that Roux told him about the quick succession shots.
Nel wants to know if he will agree with him that the head wound bled in to the toilet and the arm wound bled on the floor to the right side of the toilet. Wollie agrees. He says that the blood near the magazine rack was from the arm wound.
Nel says, the one thing that Dixon was correct on was that the magazine rack was in the position that is seen on the photographs. Wollie agrees that it was there.
Wollie says, that is one thing that he had to look after when Dixon testified (the position of the rack). He agrees with him because the mark from the foot of the magazine rack was seen in the blood. The rack was there when she bled. Wollie says that is common sense.
Nel tells Wollie that it is not Oscar’s version that the rack was there. Nel asks, so the accused must be wrong? Wollie says it’s his version that the rack was not there. Meaning that he obviously does not agree with Oscar, he just can’t directly say that.
Nel also establishes with Wollie that the head must have been very close to the toilet lid when hit due to the tissue and broken hair on the lid. Nel also points out that there is body tissue on the back wall, near the marks E and F. Wollie agrees.
Nel moves on to the back injury. Wollie says that he ruled out the fragments being the cause of the injury because the type of abrasion is not consistent with these fragments. The injuries on her chest are consistent with fragments, but not on the back.
They look at a photo and Wollie identifies this fragment as the core that he retrieved from the toilet.
Next they look at a close-up of the injury on the back.
And finally, they look at the photos side by side.
Wollie pretty adamantly says he does not see the similarity so Nel makes it clearer for him. Nel says, the rounded and uneven area of the core (around the edge) is what caused the bruise.. Wollie says he really does not see the resemblance. He is getting exasperated and annoyed now, and pointing to various things on the photos disagreeing with Nel. But, in my opinion, anybody with two functional eyes can see that this fragment very possibly, and in all likelihood, caused that bruise.
Nel tells him that we have to take in to account that she had a top on. Wollie and Nel agree that the top was in position (meaning it was covering that portion of the back when it became injured). Nel wants to know if Wollie excludes the fabric of the vest being the cause of the striations. Wollie says he’s only seen photos of the top, he has never seen it in person so he can’t really make a determination if that caused the striations.
Wollie does however agree that one needs some sort of edge to cause a striation. He also agrees that the magazine rack is smooth. So the magazine rack can’t be the cause of the striations alone, since it is smooth, but it possibly could be the cause if you couple it with the shirt. One could then also surmise that if you couple the shirt with a bullet fragment that could also be the cause of striations.
When they resume after lunch, the video feed had cut out once again so I missed a portion of how the questioning started but they are talking about the trajectory of the shots.
Nel is focusing on bullet hole B. He states it is 104cm from the ground. Reeva’s wounds on her arm and upper chest are higher than that. The trajectory of the bullets in the door, as proven by the rods, is a downward trajectory. Wollie is saying that it is possible that Oscar’s arm was in a lower position, below his line of sight, and the bullets could have had an upward trajectory after going through the door. Deflection could be a factor in that. Nel tells him that is impossible. Wollie says the wood of the door could have more resistance in certain areas than other. The bullet could have gone in at a downward trajectory but come out upward. Wollie says the probes in the holes are not accurate because they can alter the hole when they go through, also the door was hung and rehung a few times so things may not have been lined up properly.
Wollie then references a photo where there is a probe inserted in to one of the wounds on Reeva’s body and he states that it’s in an upwards trajectory. They do not show the photo on camera. Nel says the probe in this wound is much smaller than the wound itself. Wollie says his evidence is only based on the photo, he was not present for the autopsy nor did he ever ask Dr. Perumal about this. He only saw Perumal once, and as we all know, the Defense did not have Perumal testify. Nel asks him why he would put something in his report without first discussing it with the doctor who provided the information. Wollie answers, “he never had the opportunity to discuss it with him.”
Nel then reads from Wollie’s report, “if regard is had to the above (deflection), any of the bullets entering positions A, B, C and D on the toilet door could have caused the mark at E.” Nel asks Wollie if he has done it (meaning link all of the holes himself to mark E). Wollie says, no he did not because he didn’t know the degree of deflection. Nel asks if he tried a laser. Wollie says he did but none of the holes ended up at mark E. Nel then asks the following: “If Capt Mangena can get the laser through B to E, why could you not do it?” Wollie gets confused and then says that he did not say he wasn’t able to. Nel points out that he just told us that he was not able to match them up. So then Wollie changes his answer to say that he could link B very near to E, but could not get it on the exact spot.
Wollie then goes on to say that when you put the laser through the door, the beam is very clear to see as its going through the hole but as the laser nears the wall it breaks up a bit. He believes there is some sort of distortion with the laser. Nel challenges him on this and wants to make sure that he agrees that a laser cannot be deflected, Wollie agrees.
I’m not sure what exactly Wollie is trying to say here. I think he’s just trying to muddy the waters with some silly argument about the efficacy of the laser but I think it falls flat. Wollie admits that he was there at the scene when Mangena put the laser through hole B and hit mark E. He saw it with his own eyes so he can’t accurately argue his point.
Nel wants to know where the laser ended up when he tried it through holes A, C and D. Wollie says that one point was on the toilet side of the wall and the other two points were somewhere near F and G. He can’t say where exactly though and he did not write a report on this portion of his testing. Therefore, I don’t know how he can make the statement that any of the bullets entering A, B, C and D could have caused the mark at E, since he was not able to achieve that nor does he have any proof of his testing. It’s either a direct attempt to mislead or just lazy work.
Nel wants to address the decibel tests done at the house of Arnold Pistorius. He wants to know if Wollie has seen the decibel report. Wollie does not answer but instead says he wouldn’t even know how to interpret it since he’s not a sound expert.
After Nel asks again, he says that yes he has seen it. It was not long ago, maybe 2-3 weeks ago that he viewed the report. Then he says that he requested to see it to see if he could make anything out of it, but he’s not a sound expert.
This makes absolutely no sense. Why would he ask to see the report if he’s so adamant that he wouldn’t be able to read it? Wollie claims he just wanted to see it as a matter of interest. Nel wants to know if he wanted to discuss it with somebody and Wollie says no, but obviously that is not true. He must have requested it for a reason.
Nel wants to know if photos were taken that day at Uncle Arnold’s house of Oscar hitting the door with the bat. Wollie says yes photos were taken but he’s not sure about video. He also says that his camera was on the sport setting but the pictures (conveniently) came out too blurry to see.
Nel asks, it was never suggested that they use those decibel tests done at Uncle Arnold’s house rather than going to an open shooting range to do the same testing? Wollie is clearly annoyed. He says he was requested to do the test at the range based on the YouTube video that came up.
Nel asks if Wollie has heard the sound clips played in court. He says, he heard the recordings at the shooting range with headphones on. Nel wants to know what differences he picked up on between the bat and the gun sounds. Wollie would like to state again for the court that he is hard of hearing, but for him the sounds were very similar. He listened to it without his hearing aids on. Nel tells him that you can clearly hear crickets in the background with the bat recording. But with the gunshot, the cricket sounds are very faint and distant. Wollie says he can’t disagree with this. This indicates, as stated by Nel in court before, that the sound people amplified the sounds of the cricket bat tests.
Nel goes back to the topic of deflection and states that Mangena found that the most deflection he could account for was 3%. Wollie does not disagree with this. Nel points out that in order to get from hole A to mark E, you would need a much larger deflection.
Wollie says that factors to consider are that the bullet could have been unstable and could have been the cause of the injury on the left hand, deflecting the bullet. But when Nel challenges him again on deflection and asks him if he can work out how much deflection he needs to hit E from each of the holes, Wollie says he can’t work it out.
Wollie, upon prompting, says he is sure he has photographs of this testing on his computer but he’ll have to look them up. Just a few minutes ago, he testified that he did not have any records of this testing? He is all over the place with his answers.
Nel requests to see photos of the testing he had done on November 8th, and Wollie says yes, he will make them available.
Nel focus now on the ammunition used. He establishes with Wollie that at the time they did their testing on the witness boards, they were still under the impression that Oscar used Black Talon. Nel wants to know if Wollie asked Oscar what type of ammunition he used and Wollie says no, he did not.
The first time that Wollie heard that Black Talon was used was when they were at the scene on March 8, 2013. Professor Saayman was there and he asked Wollie if Black Talon bullets were prohibited and if it’s possible to still get them from a dealer. Wollie then saw some photos of the cartridge cases and without asking anybody else, he assumed they were Black Talon. It was only later on that he established that the bullets were 127 grain and Black Talon was never manufactured in 127 grain, only the Ranger was. Some Rangers have a black tip. Wollie says he established they were not Black Talon by looking online, as well as by speaking with Jason Alexander, the man who created the YouTube video seen earlier.
Nel tells Wollie that it is Mangena’s view that Black Talon was used. Mangena fired both Black Talon and Ranger in to a water tank and although they have the same effect, they are different bullets.
Nel wants to know how Wollie came up with 127 grains. Wollie says he weighed a bullet that was given to him by Mangena. Nel asks Wollie if Mangena can produce information that Black Talon was made in 127 grain, will he concede that Black Talon could have been used? Wollie says yes, if he can produce something from Winchester (the manufacturer), he would concede.
On to the witness boards… Nel wants to know if Wollie agrees that shooting one shot from one distance does not give an accurate disbursement of wood splinters. Wollie agrees but he had a very difficult time finding more Black Talon. If he had more, he would have done more tests. Typically a good norm would be 5 shots at each distance.
Nel looks at the board that was used by Wollie and points out that they were testing very light particles (wood splinters), so he wants to know why they would use this type of thick, hard board instead of paper.
Wollie says the board is better; the particles will just penetrate the paper. Nel says exactly… that is what you should be looking for. Wollie says that paper is not the same as human skin… and obviously his board is also not the same as human skin. Wollie says, this is just the way he has always done it. Nel wants to know if he will agree that smaller particles can be picked up better on paper and Wollie says that he can’t disagree.
Nel wants to know who was present when they did the tests on the board. Wollie answers himself plus van der Westhuisen, Dixon, and possibly Rikus Kruger.
Nel goes back to the arm injuries. He points out that Reeva’s forearm has a wide area of splinters on it. Wollie is trying to make it seem smaller, but Nel tells him to just look at the photo (which we can’t see) and they both agree that it is a wide area of splinters.
Nel says this means that the splinters must have spread in order to do that. Wollie says that is a possibility. He concedes that the arm may have been a little bit further away from the door.
Nel wants to know “further than what?” Wollie says she could have been as close as 6-20cm but no further than 60cm. So Nel says, after seeing this photo, you agree that it is possible that she could have been 55cm away from the door when her arm was hit and Wollie says, correct.
Nel wants to know in light of this (above), does this change his reconstruction with hole B. Wollie is defensive again. He basically says that it’s very difficult to come to a precise conclusion on what her position was behind the door. He agrees that since her face and hand did not have splinters, those injuries occurred further away. As for the other injuries with splinters, it’s basically an estimate on her distance. He makes it very clear that he does not want to be pinned down on any specific measurements or conclusions.
Now addressing the back injury again, Nel says that if Reeva is sitting on the magazine rack leaning over with her head near the toilet (but facing the door)… the bullet that hit mark E and ricocheted to mark F could then have come down and hit her on the back. Wollie won’t say it’s impossible, but then he wouldn’t expect the bullet to land in the toilet if that was the case. Nel says that the toilet room is so small and with Reeva hunched over the toilet and in alignment with the toilet, it’s possible it could have ricocheted off her back and landed in the toilet bowl. Wollie doesn’t think that’s possible.
Nel asks Wollie about the testing done at the shooting range and wants to address what happened with the gun that malfunctioned. Wollie says that he believes the type of firearm that they were using was not very friendly with that type of ammunition. Sometimes the ramp of the gun is not very smooth and the bullet can stick due to its shape. This is one reason that he believes is likely.
Nel says, doesn’t this type of firearm have a very short ramp where the bullet basically goes straight from the magazine in to the barrel? Wollie says he’s not sure, for some reason the firearm did not function. This answer is strange to me considering he is a very well know and well respected ballistics expert with years of experience. Shouldn’t he be able to inspect that firearm and know what the issue is?
Nel says, it’s possible that there wasn’t enough propellant powder in the ammunition to force the gun to cycle and Wollie agrees, that is also a possibility. But Wollie does know that Oscar’s weapon did work with this type of ammunition.
Wollie says the bullets were given to him from a box with the name Ranger on it and it didn’t appear to be self-loaded ammunition. Another reason he cites for possible malfunction is that the ammunition could be old and not stored properly.
Nel wants to know how many shots they fired that night at the range. Wollie can’t remember, and he’s stuttering badly now and his sentence doesn’t make any sense. He first says that it was only a few rounds with Black Talon. But then he says he remembers that he bought the Ranger bullets but they did not have the black tip. It could not have been more than 10 shots.
Nel says, well then we can exclude that it was old ammunition because you just told us that you bought it. Wollie says he made a mistake earlier and yes, it was fresh ammunition. He now remembers buying it.
Nel asks if they tried to fix the gun. Again… Wollie is annoyed and defensive. He says they were out in the dark and had no tools, so no he could not fix it.
I’ve said this before in an earlier post and I’ll say it again, their reasoning to go back to the range to re-shoot and re-record in April 2014, was only because they switched their story from double taps to rapid succession and they needed the sound testing to support it. This whole gun-jamming business, plus a seasoned gun expert who can’t properly conduct the test, and the fact that nobody knows where the dysfunctional gun is now are one big red flag for me.
Nel concludes today with discussing the magazine rack and points out that the rack is smooth. Wollie agrees. He has examined that rack and has seen the photos of the injury and he can’t see how that smooth surface would cause the striations. Nel asks him, based on the location of the back injury and the magazine rack being on the floor, does he agree that Reeva was low to the ground? Wollie agrees.
So Nel ponders that if she was low down, wouldn’t she have had to get up again to end up slumped on the toilet. Wollie says he doesn’t know exactly in what position she was found. He agrees that the scene indicates her head was on the toilet. He believes that if she was sitting on the floor, she could have achieved that position. But Nel says that if she’s sitting on the floor, the bullet holes are too high. Wollie says that his evidence is that she was falling down while the shots were fired.
But he still has the problem of the tissue and hair on the toilet lid, and the lack of high velocity spatter on the walls that would have been seen if her head was higher up when shot. Wollie is obviously not factoring this in.
Nel asks Wollie again if he would be willing to share with the court his photographs from the November 8, 2013, testing that he did at the scene and Wollie says yes, he will share them.
They adjourn for the weekend and sounds like we’ll be subjected to more Wollie on Monday.
This was a rough stretch of testimony to get through! Not just because of language barrier issues, but because Wollie seemed to want to dodge a lot of information. I’m disappointed. I have heard so many people talk about how great this guy was back in the day but it seems to me that he is really off his game now and I have to wonder if he is regretting getting involved with this case. He seemed so defensive and annoyed throughout most of the cross-examination, yet there are glimmers of a man who wants to be honest and thorough. That’s just my impression of him. I find myself almost feeling sorry for anybody who has to deal with this Defense team. Surely it’s a nightmare with all of Oscar’s ever-changing versions.
Before concluding, Roux asks the Judge to make an order about keeping some of the “sensitive” photos from Wollie’s report private, which she grants. But let’s be honest, it’s not a sensitivity issue. I’m sure the only reason the Defense wants these photos to be private is because they don’t want the world to see exactly what Oscar did.
6 Replies to “Oscar Trial – Day 28, May 9 WOLMARANS”
Thanks so much for this report, it must have been excruciating to decipher what Wollie was trying to say. He did the defence no favours, and if I was on a jury listening to him, I would have fallen asleep! How can roux not ask him for reports ? Very poor witness. And very poor that Roux did not oversee his work before he came to testify.
Juror13, pour yourself a Bells!
Lol, it seriously took me 4 nights to get through all of it. Painful is an understatement. I don’t necessarily think it was Roux not asking for reports… I think those reports existed and nobody wants to share them because they are not consistent with the current version of events. It was very apparent to me that Wolmarans and company had previous reports that got trashed and everybody is now playing dumb.
We’ll if he was playing dumb, it didn’t do his career any favours. Who would want to hire him as an expert after that? Hopefully he’ll be retiring after this trial.
Just wanted to ask you, what is your theory on the blood on the duvet and how that came about?
Thanks juror13, great job!
The blood on the duvet – I agree with the State that the droplets seen in that region of the duvet, floor, jeans are from when Oscar was carrying Reeva out of the bathroom through the bedroom. From some of the photos, it seems like it would be a long way away but its really only a few feet away from the bedroom entrance path. With the amount of blood that was in her long hair, it is reasonable to me that the droplets traveled to that distance while her hair was swinging. So I agree with the State’s theory on that.
As for the blood droplets on the wall to the left of the bed… not totally sure what happened there. Oscar believes it was cast off from his hands when he went to retrieve his phone from the nightstand. I don’t believe that because I don’t believe they slept, which in turn means I don’t believe he was on the left side of the bed. It’s cast off from something… whether it was from Oscar or Reeva, I’m really not sure. I will be curious to see how Nel addresses it in his closing… although, he may not since he didn’t challenge Oscar on that point. He challenged him greatly on the duvet, but not on the wall stains. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you like the blog.
I believe Oscar and Reeva started arguing downstairs, what explains why Mrs. Estelle van der Merwe was able to listen a woman talking in an angry voice, but not the screams. I also believe that the door leading to the main bedroom is significant because it is strangely damaged. If they started arguing downstairs probably Oscar had his prosthetics legs on all the time. He followed Reeva upstairs who must have closed the main bedroom door, trying to gain some time to get dressed.The open window in the bathroom caused the neighbors to listen Reeva’s screams when she was between the main bedroom and bathroom, not inside the toilet because she should have been be capable of opening the toilet window to scream for help if she’d had time. The first sounds that the Stipps heard must have been made in other part of the house, maybe when Oscar forced his entrance through the main bedroom door, and that is why Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Burger did not hear them. I really do not understand why they did not listen Oscar bashing the toilet door.
Wouldn’t a cricket bat to the back cause those bruises on her back?
What is so hard to believe that Oscar fired from a shooters kneeling position?