Oscar Trial – Day 24, April 17 DIXON

Oscar4

Roger Dixon is back and continuing the discussion about the sound testing.

Nel establishes that Dixon did listen to the recording of the bat strikes. He also had the opportunity to listen to the single gunshot that was fired on the first night of recording. Nel wants to know if he noticed a difference in the background sounds. Dixon says he recalls the sound of frogs in the background but didn’t notice a difference between the two recordings.

Dixon also says he was not involved in the recording. His job was to wield the bat. Nel says he has listened to the sounds and he believes that the bat sounds have been amplified. He wants to know what Dixon thinks about that. Dixon says if the sound engineer boosted something on his recording to ensure clearness, he wouldn’t be aware to what degree he boosted it since he was not involved in the recording.

Nel wants to know who worked with the sound engineer. Dixon testifies that the sound engineer had an assistant and from what he could see it was those two people who produced the recordings. Wolmarans was sitting with them while they were working.

Nel wants to know on which dates Dixon was at the scene (Oscar’s house.) The dates are as follows:

• Feb 22, 2013
• Feb 25, 2013
• March 1, 2013
• Sept 27, 2013
• Nov 8, 2013
• March 25, 2014
• April 14, 2014

Nel wants to know if Dixon keeps a case file system for the cases he works on as an expert. Dixon says this is the first case he has worked on since he left SAPS. All of his records are kept on his computer in folders.

Nel asks him, weren’t you also at the scene March 26th? He thought he heard Dixon give evidence that the Stipp’s curtains were drawn on March 25th and 26th. Dixon says it was March 25th and April 14th that the curtains were drawn.

Nel wants to know the purpose of his visit on March 25, 2014. This is when they did the testing of the various states of illumination in the bathroom windows from outside. He was accompanied by Wolmarans and van der Westhuisen. Dixon took the photographs using his own camera.

outside bathroom door slightly open

His visit on April 14, 2014, was to see the darkness of Oscar’s bedroom with the curtains drawn. He was accompanied by Wolmarans. Nel wants to know if they did any tests on this date. Dixon says yes, the tests were switching the lights off and drawing the curtains, and seeing the room in various levels of illumination.

Nel asks, did you do any specific testing like with a lux meter? Dixon says the purpose of the test was to see what was visible with one’s eyes. They were looking for an ambient light measurement, not a point measurement. Nel states what one can see with their eyes is very subjective.

Nel wants to know how many reconstructions they did at the scene with the door. Dixon answers one.

Nel also wants to know if any equipment was used for testing on the other days that he was there. Dixon states that Wolmarans used a laser for ballistics testing. Dixon took measurements of the door and he also used an x-ray fluorescent spectrometer on mark E inside the toilet room to test for the presence of metal on that mark.

Nel wants to know if a report was created for his visit to the scene on April 14th. Dixon says no. They also did not take any photographs or video. Dixon is not aware if Wolmarans created a report or not. Dixon only gave verbal feedback about the test to counsel.

On November 8th, 2013, when a reconstruction of the scene was done at Oscar’s house, Dixon states that the following people were present: two SAPS policemen, Capt Van Aardt, Wolmarans, Ms. Adams, Mr. Pruger (spelling?) and himself. The two policemen installed the door. Wolmarans and Dixon took measurements and used the laser on the door. Wolmarans also used probes on the door. With the assistance of Ms. Adams, they tried to recreate the position for each wound utilizing the probes.

Nel wants to know if Dixon has seen a report about this reconstruction. Dixon says the draft report from Wolmarans does contain some of the information from that day. That draft report also contains details from many other aspects of the investigation. Dixon says that Womarans asked him to review the draft because Dixon’s English is better than his. But Dixon again states that he never saw the final report.

Nel wants to know if photographs were taken at this reconstruction on November 8th. Dixon says yes. But there was no video taken.

Nel asks, after this reconstruction, what were their conclusions about the bullet holes? They are as follows:

• Bullet A hit the hip.
• Bullet B hit the arm.
• Bullet C may have intersected the web of her fingers and hit mark E on the wall.
• Bullet D hit the head.

Nel wants to know where the magazine rack was in their reconstruction. Dixon says he would have to look at the photos to recollect. He says it was in various areas of the toilet room while they were taking measurements.

Nel wants to know if the magazine rack played any role in the head wound. Dixon says, “memory is a fleeting thing” as he pauses a bit. He then goes on to say that the position that one would be seated in when on top of the rack was too high and if leaning forward, it would still be difficult to match up one of the bullet holes. When the person was on the floor leaning against the magazine rack then the person was near the bullet hole, or slightly below.

Nel asks, so you are saying that if she was sitting on the floor then bullet hole D would have hit her in the head? Dixon answers, they believe the bullet hit her as she was in the process of falling down to the floor.

Dixon then acts out how she was falling in this sequence… the bullet hits the hip while her right arm is stretched out toward the door handle.

dixon demonstrating hip wound

Then as she is just starting to fall, the next bullet hits her upper arm.

Dixon demonstrating arm wound

He does not act out the 3rd bullet but yesterday he had mentioned that her left arm was likely in front of her, as part of an involuntary contraction movement, and the bullet went through the webbing of the left hand at that point, missing her torso and hitting the wall at mark E.

Then the 4th bullet hit her head as she is falling to the ground. He says that she would have landed leaning up against the magazine rack.

Nel tells him that if he’s wrong about B, then it makes his scenario difficult. Dixon agrees.

Nel asks, as far as the head wound is concerned, is there anything else that guided you as far as where the body was when it was struck. Dixon points out that the wound is on the top right hand side of the head.

dixon pointing to head

He says it was a horizontal wound straight through. The entry was slightly higher than the exit, so she may have been leaning forward just slightly. He wants to point out again that he’s not a wound ballistician; he’s just interpreting the sequence of events.

Nel asks if there was anything else that guided him in determining how the head was struck. Dixon says yes, the two contusions on the back combined with the contusion on the low buttock showed him that the deceased was falling downward and backwards. The magazine rack would be against the wall and she struck the edge of the rack that was furthest away from the toilet. He believes this matches the lateral contusion on her buttock.

Nel wants to know if Dixon is actually saying that even after Saayman dissected that wound, and put in his report that the wound was caused by the shattering of her hip and pelvis by the bullet fragments, that Saayman is wrong?

Dixon says that he did not see anything in Saayman’s report that said the external appearance of the contusion was directly related to the internal hematoma. Dixon says he is not saying that Saayman is wrong.

Nel is getting agitated because Dixon keeps giving very lengthy answers that are going off course. He wants him to focus on the head wound and what helped him determine the position of the body when the head was struck.

Dixon says the lack of visible wood splinters in the head indicates she was further away from the door. Also, another factor was the statement from Oscar that Reeva’s head was leaning on the toilet bowl when he found her plus the pooling of blood on the right hand side of the toilet.
They next look at the lid of the toilet. Nel wants to know if this photo means anything to him.

toilet hair broken hair and particulate

Dixon says this indicates that the head was in reasonable proximity to the toilet when it was wounded.

Nel wants to know why he didn’t take in to account this toilet lid when determining the location of her head when it was struck. Nel points out that it is hair imbedded in tissue that is seen on that photo.
Dixon again says that yes, her head was in reasonable proximity to the toilet when it was hit.

Nel asks Dixon if he will agree that the head wound would have been incapacitating. Dixon says that from what he’s heard and read that yes, she would not have been able to make voluntary movements. Dixon says it could be possible, based on how the body lands, to have involuntary movement or spasms. For instance, the body could involuntarily fall over depending on its resting place.

Now Dixon is getting agitated by all of the bullet wound sequence questions from Nel. Dixon says “my Lady, it would be very nice if I was a ballistics expert.” I’m sure my Lady agrees. It would indeed be nice to have a ballistics expert discussing these matters.

Nel then goes back to a comment that Dixon made earlier where he said that when somebody shoots a gun, the muzzle of the gun jolts upward. So if that person immediately shot another bullet, you would expect to see it hit a little bit higher than the first. That is how Dixon could account for bullet hole B being higher than A. Dixon also went on to say earlier that the person would have to refocus or correct their aim in order to get it back to the position of the first shot.

OP pic door

Dixon now back-pedals here, because obviously looking at the door it sure does look like for C and D he aimed pretty well. He tries to explain that it’s not a conscious “shoot, lift, reposition, then shoot again” type of thing. The body instinctively gets used to the pattern and can do it without a lot of thought.

Nel goes back to the magazine rack and how Reeva fell. He points out that Dixon stated that she fell on the magazine rack at the furthest point to the right.

dixon pointing to magazine rack

She then somehow got the two contusions on her back from that same rack. And then somehow she must have fallen forward towards the toilet bowl. Dixon agrees; this is his version.

Nel then says to him, Oscar stated that the magazine rack was definitely not there when he found Reeva in the toilet room. What does he think about that?

Dixon says that his reconstruction was based on the evidence that he can see and measure, and that has been recorded by other people. So Nel asks, was the accused wrong? Dixon won’t answer that and instead says, this is his interpretation of events.

Nel then asks, “can the accused be right if you are right?” Nel also says, “you are his witness.” Dixon again won’t give a direct answer on this. Instead he wants to demonstrate his answer via photo.

pic of toilet room with rack moved

Dixon points out that in the blood stain on the floor, there is a rectangular mark which indicates where the foot of the magazine rack was located. Based on the blood pooling around the leg, it is clear that this magazine was not slid or moved in this area. It was there when the deceased fell on it.

white circle showing rack leg mark

close up of leg mark in blood pool

Before they move on, Dixon again points out how Reeva would have been hit in the head as she was falling down. She hit the right side of the rack and slid down to the floor, and then slumped over on the toilet. Nel tells him based on the tissue and hair on the toilet lid, this is highly improbable. Her head would obviously have to be closer for that tissue and hair to hit where it did. Dixon says his opinion does not change.

Nel then clears up a few dates with Dixon. On March 25, 2014, Dixon agrees he went to the scene. But he does not agree that he was there on February 21st or March 18th.

They next look at a photo that depicts what the accused would have looked like from outside at night without his prosthetic legs.

outside bathroom model kneeling

Dixon says that with his understanding of Oscar’s height on his stumps, he would probably be about 20cm higher than the person in the picture. Nel points out then that this is not an accurate reflection of how Oscar would have appeared. He wants to know that why Dixon, as an expert, would give the court something that is not accurate. As usual, Dixon does not answer the question. Instead he starts rambling on about measurements. Nel asks again, why would you mislead the court with this photograph?

Dixon answers that they were testing lighting and they put a person in for scale purposes. He says he never stated that it was an exact height. Dixon says he is not trying to mislead the court. Nel asks why he didn’t just have the person lean on something to give an accurate representation of height. He is an expert. The court would expect his evidence to be accurate. Dixon says it is something that he omitted; he overlooked it at the time.

Nel then says, we are dealing with an expert, somebody who used to be a policeman and knows what he’s doing. “I want to know why you did it?”

Dixon repeats, it was for demonstration purposes with relative heights.
Nel states that 20cm is a significant variance and he wants to know why he didn’t mention it until now. Dixon says he didn’t have the trigger to mention it before. It’s coming up now, so now he’s mentioning it.

First he was busted on the redo of the gunfire tests yesterday and now today he’s busted on using inaccurate heights in their photographs. I believe Nel is trying to point out that this is not sloppy work, it’s shady work.

Nel says to him, you knew that Mr. Stipp testified that he saw somebody walking in front of that window. Are you trying to demonstrate to the court what he would have seen? Dixon says that they did want to see what Mr. Stipp would have seen.

Nel says back to him, if you really wanted to see what Mr. Stipp saw, you would have used the correct height. Dixon says a scale is a range. This model gave a scale to reference.

Nel asks how far away they were standing when they took the photograph. Dixon answers that he was standing in the road outside of the Stipp’s house at an angle so he could see around the new home. Nel reminds him again that he is an expert giving details and putting things on record. He wants to know exactly how far away he was. Dixon does not know the distance.

Nel then points out that the Stipps did not observe that window from street level. He wants to know, doesn’t that make a difference? Dixon says it would make a difference. He was standing at ground level and looking up, so the person in the window would actually look higher up than if he was looking downward or horizontally from the Stipp’s view. That person would have looked shorter from their view. Nel tells him that makes no sense at all. I agree with Nel; that does not make sense.

Nel asks Dixon what time of night they took these photos. Dixon says around 9pm. Nel wants to know if it was strange to Dixon that the Stipps had their curtains closed at that time of night. Dixon says what people do with their curtains is their own preference. He goes on to stay that at night time for privacy, it is likely that they would draw their curtains.

Nel asks, who was the model in the photographs? Dixon says it was Mr. van der Westhuisen. Wolmarans was there with Dixon observing from outside. They communicated via cell phones that night to give direction to van der Westhuisen who was inside the house.

On April 14, 2014, when Dixon returned to Oscar’s house, he was there to conduct lighting tests in the bedroom. Nel wants to know which items were still in the bedroom at the time of their testing. Dixon says the house has remained relatively unchanged. There was the bed, side tables, fans, chest with audio equipment on it, TV, bookshelf, etc.

Nel wants Dixon to describe to the court how they conducted their test.

Dixon says this test was only observation. It did not totally replicate the night of February 14, 2013, when there was no moon and there was less development in the complex.

On April 14, 2014, when they conducted this test, it was the night before the full moon and there was a lot of lighting from the surrounding homes.

Dixon looked at the construction of the curtain to confirm that it was a black-out style curtain which it was. When the curtains were open, there was quite a lot of light in the room. When they were pulled closed, it went extremely dark except for the far end of the passage where there was some light coming in from the bathroom windows. Nel stops him there.

Nel asks, with the curtains open was there quite a lot of light? Dixon says yes. Nel wants him to describe to the court what he can see.
Since this is an “observation” test, he needs to describe to the court what exactly he is seeing.

Dixon says he can see the position of everything in the room with the curtains open. He was standing in between the foot of the bed and the chest with the audio equipment on it. From there he could make out the outlines of the bed, he could see the bookshelf and he could see the end of the passage.

Nel asks, what was the source of that light outside? Dixon says from the moon and from the neighboring homes, however he can’t say exactly which homes had their lights on. Nel asks, why? He wants to know why he didn’t note these details and why would he come to court without a report. Should the court just take Dixon’s word for it? Dixon says he had been there previously when there was no moon and when the curtains were closed, it was pitch black. He was asked to go back to do another lighting test to confirm and make sure that the pitch black state was true. So this was the second time they observed the lighting conditions. He was not there to observe outside, he was there to observe the lighting inside the room with the curtains closed.

Nel says, that’s interesting. Surely you must be aware that the State’s case is that the curtains were open. Nel wants to know why he wouldn’t test that condition too. Dixon says “he’s most probably not like the rest of the world.” He doesn’t own a TV or a radio, nor does he buy newspapers. He hasn’t been following the case. He only has his testimony to present. He says he does not know all the details of the State’s case and he was unaware of the State’s position on this.

Dixon says the only other lights that could be seen in the room were tiny blue lights on the light switches. There were also small lights on the front of the audio equipment, and a blue light on the on/off switch of the CD player. The TV has a small red light on the lower frame.

Nel asks about the balcony light. Dixon says it was off. Nel tells Dixon that the balcony light was on the night of February 14, 2013, and he wants to know why he wouldn’t switch it on to do his testing if he’s trying to recreate the scene. Dixon tells the court that he was unaware that the balcony light was on, he did not have that information. He goes on to say that with the ambient light from outside, you could see a thin bit of light at the crack of the curtain and at the bottom of the curtain.

Nel wants to know more about the lighting coming through the cracks of the curtain. Dixon explains that the balcony door has a large wood frame. When the two doors come together to close, the middle section is a solid piece of wood. That would be just behind the crack of the curtain. So any light coming through the crack of the curtain is not direct, it’s a light that is reflected from the side.

Nel says to him, that light would have reflected even more if the balcony light was on. Dixon says that’s a possibility. Nel confirms, nobody told you that the balcony light was on that night? Dixon says no, they did not.

Nel confirms that Wolmarans was there with Dixon that night, and he also confirms that Wolmarans did not say anything about the balcony light either.

Dixon confirms that with the lights off and the curtains drawn, he could see the end of the passage leading to the bathroom. Nel wants to know if they had Wolmarans walk down the passage to see if he was visible. Dixon says that Wolmarans first laid down on the bed and with Dixon standing near the curtains, he could not see him at all. Wolmarans then got up and walked down the passage and Dixon could not see him until he got to the end of the passage.

Nel wants to ask him one more time, did you compile a report on this evening? Dixon says no, but he did compile one when they went on the previous visit. This night in April was just for confirmation.

Nel then focuses on the supposed “kick” mark on the door. He wants to know where the cut out portion of the prosthesis is currently located. Dixon says it’s in his possession. Nel wants to know if he has it here. Dixon says he does not. Nel wants to know why he would come to court to testify about something and not bring the evidence. Dixon doesn’t answer and simply says he can “fetch it.”

Nel asks him again, why would you not have it here? Dixon says he did not think to bring it. He then says that the cut out portion was taken AFTER the prosthesis was handed back to Oscar. It was cut out then and was always in the Defense’s possession. He thought the leg was the exhibit. Nel stops him and says, “it was cut out when?” He answers again that it’s his understanding that it was cut out after Oscar received the legs back, it was examined and photos were taken by van der Westhuisen. The piece was then given to Dixon.

Nel tells him that he’s wrong and he’ll have to ask Mr. van der Westhuisen, but the piece was cut out before the prosthesis was handed to the police. Dixon says he has no idea of the movement of the prosthesis at that stage. He became involved with the case on February 22, 2013.

Dixon also received a splinter of wood with varnish on it from the door from Mr. Wolmarans. He received the piece of the prosthesis from Mr. van der Westhuisen.

They break for tea.

Upon returning, Nel is asking Dixon if he is relying on memory to testify about the (kick) mark on the door. Dixon says yes. Nel asks him why he would rely on his memory, and why doesn’t he have a report? Dixon says when he gives evidence in court, he tends not to read out from written reports. He has been over the evidence many times and believes it’s fixed in his mind. Nel says, but the court will only accept the opinion of an expert if he can take them through the processes he followed to reach his conclusion. Dixon says, if it’s requested, he can type up the process.

Nel says, let’s start with the date that you received the piece of the prosthesis. Dixon says that information should be in one of the reports that was handed to Mr. Nel. Nel has Dixon look through his report and Dixon then says that the piece was given to him by Mr. van der Westhuisen at the scene at Silverwoods on either February 25, or March 1, 2013.

Nel asks him if he was able to find the date in his report. Dixon says no. He was just looking at the dates that he had been at the scene and figured it was one of those dates. So it obviously was not in his report.

Nel then asks if there’s any indication in his report on which date he received the splinter of wood to test the varnish. Dixon says no, but it was given to him in March of this year by Wolmarans, in a sealed bag, when they were at the shooting range. Again, the date was not in his report.

I do not see how the court is going to accept the grand majority of Dixon’s evidence. He has been proven to be a very unreliable and unqualified expert.

Nel wants to know, since Dixon had been part of the police force for several years, didn’t he understand the importance of chain of custody, in particular where the piece of prosthesis was concerned? Dixon says he has written that information down. Nel asks, where? Dixon says on his computer.

Nel moves on, and now asks Dixon if he will agree that the piece of the prosthesis that was cut out is smaller than the mark that is seen on the door.

Dixon says it is slightly smaller because that is the portion that had the maximum varnish on it. There should still be some on that surrounding area of the sole of the prosthesis. He also says that white fibers from the sock have been ripped out and are stuck to the prosthesis.

They then look at the photograph that Dixon took in court of the fibers on the door.

abrasion on door

Nel says the fibers are pointing downwards. He wants to know if there’s any significance to that. Dixon says the fibers are flexible, they could move. There’s no significance.

Nel wants to know if he would have expected a larger area of varnish to transfer to the bottom of the prosthesis, considering the size of the mark on the door. Wouldn’t the amount of varnish removed from the door be equivalent to the amount of varnish that would then be on the foot. Dixon says it’s relative to the force that was used and also points out that the bottom of the foot is not totally flat. He also mentions that Oscar was wearing a sock.

Nel then asks, wouldn’t you expect that there would be varnish on the sock? Dixon says yes, one could expect that. But Dixon never tested the sock.

Nel then hands Oscar’s prosthesis to Dixon and asks him if that is the area where the piece has been cut out.

Dixon with leg

Dixon says it appears so. Nel wants to know why he answered that way, “it appears so.” And it is discovered that this is the first time that Dixon is seeing the leg in person. He previously had only seen it in photos. Nel tells him that he’s welcome to take off the sock. But before he does that, he wants to document for the court that a portion of the sock is missing where the piece of prosthesis was cut out, and there is a hole in the heel as well.

leg with sock2

leg with sock

Dixon says he doesn’t know if this is the original sock. Nel says it is not, that is how they received the leg. But he will give Dixon the original sock to see if he so wishes.

Nel also asks him before he removes the sock, if there are any particles of varnish on the sock. Dixon says he wouldn’t know if there were any there, they would be quite small. He then takes the sock off and says the appearance of the bottom of the foot is consistent with the photographs he has seen. Dixon then points out where the portion was cut out.

Dixon points to area that was cut out

Nel wants Dixon to tell the court what Mr. van der Westhuisen told him (Dixon) when he handed him the piece that was cut out. Dixon says that van der Westhuisen said he saw a mark on the door and a mark on the foot and he thought it was significant. So he gave it to Dixon because it was part of his responsibility to look at the marks on the door.

Nel want to know why he was under the impression that the piece he received was cut out after the prosthesis was returned from the police. Dixon doesn’t have a recollection of the exact wording that was used, but he remembers that when the piece was given to him, he was told it was a piece of the prosthesis and that it was cut after the prosthesis had been given back.

Nel wants to know if it’s significant to him when the piece was removed. Dixon says it was after the event, therefore it can be connected to the event. Also, there was a mark on the door. He didn’t receive the piece of wood with varnish until much later when it became apparent that it might be necessary. He also states that they gave him the piece of prosthesis when they did because he was at the scene with them and they viewed him as the trace evidence person.

Nel says to him that he didn’t answer the question. He wants to know is it significant to him when the piece was removed? Dixon says no, it’s not. Chain of custody for Dixon started when he received it and it’s still in his possession.

Nel then asks if he did the analysis of the varnish himself. Dixon says he prepared the samples. He scraped the pieces of varnish off of the wood, and cut only the relevant piece of the prosthesis needed and put them in viles. He did the necessary processing and put them in a gas chromatograph at the University. A company named Leco has their instrument there and the gentlemen who represents Leco assisted Dixon. Dixon says it’s the same equipment that’s used at the forensic science laboratory in Silverton.

Nel wants to know if he has a report. Dixon says he has a report of the analysis but he didn’t have it with him in court. He thinks he gave a copy to the Defense but he’s not sure.

Nel asks him if he took any samples of any other doors in the house. Dixon says no. He wasn’t aware that the leg could have kicked other doors in the house. He was looking at how many pieces of evidence could link the sole of the prosthesis with the toilet door.

He says he looked at the fibers on the sole of the prosthesis, of which some are still on there. There were also fibers on the door which were photographed by the police on February 14, 2013, that show the fibers there. That is why he was so sure the cleaning cloth (that was discussed yesterday) was not what caused those fibers on the door in court. He also looked at the physical shape of the abrasion and the striation that was in it. He believes that striation can also be seen on the sole of the prosthesis.

He goes on to say that he did not do an extensive identification of every single chemical component in the varnish. He analyzed the pure varnish sample with the contaminated varnish on the sole and it was a match.

Nel asks, but you are aware that there are other doors in the house with varnish. Did you exclude that the transfer happened from other wooden frames in the house? Dixon says again, he was not aware that other doors had been kicked so no, he didn’t check elsewhere in the house.

Nel says to Dixon that Vermeulen is of the opinion that Oscar could have stumbled on that piece of wood and caused the mark at that time. He wants to know what he thinks about that. Dixon says he doesn’t think that could happen. He likely would not have had enough force to create the mark simply by stumbling. Nel wants to know if it’s at least possible. Dixon says, not from the distribution of varnish that was seen. He’s not saying it’s impossible. He believes the plank would have to be held in place and would have to be kicked or stepped on pretty hard to cause that mark.

Nel moves on to the bat strikes. He asks Dixon if he has looked at the angle of how it hit the door. Dixon says yes he has. He did his testing from what he considers an approximate angle. He would never be able to ascertain an exact angle because of the grain of wood and shape of bat.

Nel wants to know if he included all of the photographs taken on March 25, 2014, in his album. Dixon says he didn’t prepare an album. He prepared a report. He tends to take a lot of photographs to ensure he has what he needs. Nel asks him if he has all of the photographs still available. Dixon says they are stored on his computer. Nel asks him if he has any objection to the State looking at all of the photos taken that night. Dixon says he has no objection.

Nel wants to know who was involved with the wood splinter test where they placed the white board behind the door. Dixon says himself, Wolmarans, van der Westhuisen and the people who own the shooting range.

Dixon took the photographs and assisted with setting up the door in the same position as the crime scene. He used his own camera. Nel wants to know if he has all the photographs in sequence that he took on that day. Dixon says he does. Nel wants to know if he would object to the State looking at all of those photographs as well. Dixon does not object.

Nel looks at a photograph and says it looks like a hole that’s been filled up with something. They don’t show the photo on screen, but I believe this is the photo he is referring to or at least similar.

test bullets entry

Dixon says this is the tunnel that the hole made going diagonally through the door. Dixon was standing face on to the door to take the photo so the inside of the path can be seen. Nel believes what causes that effect is that the bullet was at an angle. Dixon agrees that it was at an angle.

Nel asks him if he measured the angle at which the bullets had been fired. Dixon says he did assist with setting up the door and they determined the firing angle by using Mangena’s ballistics report and the measurements taken at the scene.

Nel also wants to know what distance they shot from. He believes it was approximately 2.1 meters. It corresponded with the distances that Mangena testified about. Nel asks again about the angle of the bullets. He wants to know if they used probes or angled meters to make sure they had the correct angle. And Dixon says no, they did not do that. That was not the purpose of their test.

Nel points out that Meranti wood has a grain that runs from top to bottom. He wants to know if the angle at which the bullet hits would make a difference in the splintering effect. Dixon says yes it would. Nel asks, why then did you not measure the angles? Dixon says that they did replicate the distance, angle and height in order to shoot bullets through the door to record the effects of the bullet passing through, and collecting the wood splinters on the boards. If the measurements were made correctly, their angles should have been correct. But they did not measure them after the fact.

Nel wants to know if he was the only one photographing that night. Dixon says somebody could have been behind him taking photos but as far as he’s aware, nobody else. Nel tells him that is a strange answer. Dixon says there were other people there in the background and he can’t say for sure what they were doing, but he doubts that anybody was taking photos. Nel wants to know out of the people who were there specifically for the test, did any of them take photos. Dixon says not that he can remember.

Nel wants to know who he gave the photographs to. Dixon says to Mr. Wolmarans, and he has copies as well. Some of the photos were used in his report.

Nel then states that when Mangena did his tests, he used a protractor and an angle finder on the hole. Nel wants to know if they did that as well. Dixon again says no, this was not a ballistics test to determine trajectory. It was a test to study effects.

Nel wants to know during this test, how many witness boards they used. Dixon remembers four. Nel asks if he took photographs of all four boards. Dixon says yes. The one that was included in his album is the one that was closest to the door. Nel wants to know if he has photographs of the other boards. Dixon says he can do better than that… the ballistics expert who will testify will bring them with him, and as far as the photographs, they should have been given to counsel (meaning the Defense should have given them to the State last night.)

Nel

Nel asks him how he knows that the witness boards will be used when the expert gives evidence. Dixon says because it’s in question now. Nel says no, I want to know who told him that between yesterday and today. Dixon says nobody.

Nel asks, who told you that the photographs were handed over? Dixon says nobody, it was requested in court yesterday.

Roux stands up and says that they were requested to make the other photos available of the board and he was involved in that process.

Nel stands up and says that they asked THIS witness (Dixon) to personally make them available but instead they got them from the Defense. So Nel wants to know how Dixon knows that they got the photos from the Defense. Remember, the Defense is not supposed to be communicating with their witnesses during cross-examination! That’s a big no-no. The Judge understands what Nel is saying and allows him to continue.

Nel asks Dixon, “how do you know that the Defense made photographs available to us?” Dixon says that he’s employed by the Defense and they have all of those items. He was unaware of the fact that he personally had to hand them over. He was of the opinion that if a request was made in court for any items, that counsel would handle that. So he’s essentially trying to make it sound like he didn’t understand that HE needed to provide them and that he didn’t KNOW that Defense handed them over, he just assumed they did.

Nel tells him no, you can’t get away with that. Nel says, you put it as a fact not as an inference. Dixon says he sat in the court and loaded the files from his computer on to a memory stick and gave it to his counsel for them to make the copies required. He did not have enough memory sticks to make copies, so he handed it to them to take care of it.

Nel tells him that he’s even more worried now because Dixon first tried to pawn it off as an inference, and now he’s telling them that he sat in court and handed over a memory stick. He could have just simply stated that when Nel first asked the question but instead, he just came off as trying to hide something.

Dixon is all flustered now and apologizing to the Judge, not because he did anything wrong but because he is (seemingly) trying to act like he didn’t know he had to give it directly to the State.

Nel now pushes him about the boards. He wants to know how Dixon knows that the expert witness (Wolmarans) will bring them in to court. Dixon takes a long sigh and says that since they had the tests done, the boards have been packaged and have been in court on a number of occasions with Wolmarans as he did not know when he was going to testify. It was his assumption based on that behavior that he (Wolmarans) would have them with him when he did testify. Dixon says he was not explicitly told that by anybody.

Nel rests.

Roux is up for reexamination.

Roux takes a few minutes to locate a photo. When they return, they hand the photo to Dixon. It is not shown on screen but it is described as a photo taken at the post-mortem which shows the bruises on Reeva’s back, and lividity has set in.

Roux wants to know where the bruise was that Dixon had previously seen on her back (the bruise that supposedly wasn’t identified by Saayman or anybody else.) Dixon says the bruise was in a line with the other two contusions, a few cm above the contusions. Roux asks if it was in the area of the lividity that is now seen. Dixon answers yes. He adds that the area all around the contusions had gone red as well.

Roux now points him to the ballistics album and shows him a photo.

paper from State shooting test

Roux asks him if he’s seen this photo and Dixon has not. Roux wants to know what this replicates to him. Dixon says this looks like somebody fired through a target causing secondary missiles to hit the paper. Roux says unfortunately this was not presented by the State in their case. Roux says there are a number of photos of this test done by the State but Dixon did not have access to them. Dixon agrees, he did not.

Roux asks him if he was ever given information about these photos outside of court by Mangena or anybody else. Dixon says, no.

Roux wants to know the surname of the range master. Dixon believes it was Roux.

Roux asks, after hitting the door with the cricket bat at the range, did the range master speak to you? Dixon says the recording equipment was being set-up. He hit the bottom portion of the door four times quickly just so they could set up the microphones for the right level of recording. As soon as he did that, the range master came out and asked if they had started shooting because they were supposed to wait for the go ahead telling them it was all clear. The range master thought that when he hit the door, they had started shooting.

Roux wants to revisit the photo that shows van der Westhuisen kneeling in front of the window.

inside bathroom model kneeling

outside bathroom model kneeling

Roux wants to know if they took any measurements to see if they could compare what is seen in this photo to Oscar. Dixon says he measured how high the head was from neck up. The head of an average male is approximately 35cm. He also measured the height of the windows. He did have the measurements of Oscar, and Oscar is about 20cm taller on his stumps than the man in the window.

Dixon goes on to say that he was informed that when Oscar is on his stumps, his lower legs have some length to them but one is longer than the other. He was also aware of the problem with the callus. So he couldn’t pinpoint an exact position.

Roux says what’s important to remember is that Mr. Stipp saw the figure in the right side window, and he could only see the top portion of that window (because of trees.)

view outside window from Mrs Stipp side of bed

Roux wants to know from Dixon, what would be the position of the person even if you added the 20cm? Dixon thinks the person would be about half way up the illuminated portion of the window, or slightly lower.

But keep in mind, not only did they neglect to use the correct height for Oscar, they also did not use the proper vantage point from which Dr. Stipp viewed the figure in the window. So their tests are not reliable.

Roux has no further questions for reexamination. Dixon is excused.

Roux says that the next witness’s evidence in chief will take longer than the available court time today. He has discussed this with Nel and they are in agreement that it would be best not to start the testimony today. Roux states that in order to make up the time, they are willing to start early upon return to court in May.

The Judge grants this early adjournment but asks that everybody be prepared to work extra hours when they return.

Court will resume on Monday, May 5, at 9:30am.

Oscar Trial – Day 23, April 16 DIXON

Dixon nervous smile

The Judge begins the day by granting the application for postponement that was submitted by the State yesterday. The court will be on recess starting this Friday and will commence on Monday, May 5.

Roger Dixon is still on the stand.

They show a photo and Dixon explains that he was asked to prepare a diagram of the various heights of marks.

dixon graph

He measured the heights of bullet holes B, C and D. They range from 97 to 104 cm. He also measured the heights of the ricochets marks E and F. Mark E is on the left and mark F is on the right. Next he measured the magazine rack and the front portion is 62cm from the floor. The back portion is 76cm from the floor.

His observation is that mark E on the wall has horizontal marks, meaning that the bullet didn’t hit that mark head on; it grazed along the wall from the side. He states you can see metal on the wall. He used an x-ray spectrometer and picked up the presence of copper and lead. This means the bullet still had the jacket on at this point. So the bullet grazed along point E and hit point F, creating the cracking of the tiles.

MARK E
62

MARK F
61

MARK E, F AND G TOGETHER
8

LOCATION ON WALL OF E, F AND G
60

Roux asks him what the energy of the bullet would be after it hits point F. Dixon says the amount of speed and energy will be reduced at this point. By the time it hit F, that would now be the 3rd thing that it hit (first the door, then grazing the wall and finally hitting the tile.) If it had lost all of its energy, one would expect it to fall to the floor. If it still had energy left, it could ricochet again in a direction. Although he can’t say for sure which direction, he would expect that it would probably bounce backwards from there. However, if there was a breakage plane in the tile, then it could bounce at an angle. So there really is no definitive way to know where it would have gone.

He goes on to say that in order for it to hit the back of the deceased, it still would need to have quite a bit of energy.

The wounds that are on her back are one on top of the other running along the spine.

back contusions

He doesn’t see how the bullet could have come downward and strike the bottom contusion and then go upwards causing the vertical striations. Also he would expect that the projectile would have jagged edges at this point from the jacket causing cuts and tears in the skin.

Roux reads from Saayman’s findings that these contusions were caused by some type of blunt object, edge of chair, possibly even a missile.

One of the junior lawyers goes in to the box with Dixon and Dixon holds the photo of the confusions to his back so we can become familiar with the orientation of the wounds.

dixon with image on lawyers back

Each contusion is along the spinal process, the hard boney part of the spine. Dixon repeats that he can’t conceive of a scenario where the bullet would hit the bottom contusion and go upwards.

Roux says it’s also common cause that there were no holes in the back of the t-shirt. He wants to know what Dixon thinks about that. He believes this indicates that there was no fabric covering that area. He would expect that there would be some type of stretching on the shirt in that area. He believes that her shirt likely was lifted up as she fell down.

Roux says there is another issue with Mangena’s assertion that the contusions were caused by a bullet fragment, and Roux says that is the “mass” of the bullet.
Dixon goes on to say that “numbers are not his best friend” so he has to refer to his notes.

dixon reading from notes

According to Saayman’s evidence:

1. Bullet A was retained in the abdomen so that would not have hit her back.

2. The bullet that hit her arm fragmented in the bone and there were bits and pieces in the front of her shirt and some on the floor. Those pieces would not have been able to go backwards so that excludes this projectile as being the cause of the back wounds.

3. With the head wound, the largest piece that was retained in the head weighed 93.6 grains. The mass of a black talon is 127 grains. If a piece came out of the head exit wound, it would have to be approximately 33 grains. This is likely not large enough to cause the size of the contusion that was on her back.

The fragment of the bullet core that was found in the toilet bowl weighed 65.9 grains. If you add 65.9 (from the one in the bowl) to 93.6 (the one in the head), you get 159.50 grains which is in excess of what a bullet weighs. Therefore, the bullet fragment in the toilet bowl cannot be the other half of the bullet that went through the head. The remaining head bullet fragments were likely on the ground.

4. The fourth projectile is the one that hit the wall at points E and F. He believes this impact caused the jacket to come off and the core itself is what landed in the toilet. The jacket then would have either fallen to the floor or ricocheted elsewhere, but he believes this jacket would be too sharp to cause the wounds on her back.

Dixon does agree with Mangena’s assertion that the hip shot was the first one.
Roux wants to know if he agrees with Mangena that Reeva was standing in front of the door and facing the door.

He states that the autopsy said the wound was eccentric, not concentric. If she was standing in front of the door and the bullet came at her straight on, he would expect the wound to be concentric. If she was standing in front of the door and it came at her at an angle, it would be eccentric.

But we do know the bullets were fired at an angle, so I’m not sure how his point helps the Defense. I think it actually supports the State. She can still be standing in front of the door facing it when the bullet hit her at an angle.

hip wound

Roux asks him to state his opinion on how she was standing when she was shot. Dixon says that based on the splinters in her forearm, together with the puncture wounds around the hip wound and some splinters seen in her torso, he believes she was leaning toward the door handle with her arm stretched out higher than the area where the bullet hit the hip.

He also notes there were splinters found in the upper arm and in the t-shirt and states the person would have been quite close to the door.

There were no splinters found in the head or on the hand wound. He believes this is because these parts of the body were now far enough away from the door when they were hit that they were not impacted by spraying splinters.

He thinks that after the initial hip and arm shot in front of the door, she would have fallen as her right hip gave out. Her right arm would have no function so would be limp at her side. He thinks the left hand was probably in front of her as an involuntary contraction type movement from the shock of the initial bullets and the bullet that missed her and hit the wall went thru the webbing of her fingers at that point.

And then for the head wound, he believes that she would be sitting too high up on top of the magazine rack for the bullet to hit her head considering the height of the bullet holes. The highest hole was 104cm and the lowest was 93cm. He also thinks she’d be too low if she was leaning over. So his conclusion is that the 4 bullets were fired in rapid succession and the 4th bullet hit her in the head as she was in the process of falling down. He says she would have fallen against the rack, landed on the floor with her head coming to rest on the toilet bowl.

He thinks that she fell against the magazine rack on this area of the wood.

dixon with magazine rack

They move on to sounds now. Roux first replays the cricket bat sound test from yesterday. The first sounds are from 60 meters, the second at 180 meters.

Then he plays the gunshot sound test which was also done at 60 meters and 180 meters.

The cricket bat sounds start around 53:28 on this video.

The gunshots start around 54:40 on this video.

Roux asks Dixon if these are in accord with the tests that he attended. “My Lady, the first ones were the cricket bat at 60 and 180 and the second were the gunshots at 60 and 180, yes.”

Roux rests and Nel begins cross-examination.

Nel’s first question… “Mr. Dixon, you are qualified as a Geologist, am I right?” Dixon says his first degree was in Chemistry and Geology. His current employment is at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Geology. Nel says that he sees he is not currently affiliated with any forensic body and Dixon says that’s correct.
Nel establishes that he had previously worked for the forensic lab with the police.

Nel asks him if he understands the difference between an expert witness and a normal general witness. He says he does. Nel wants him to explain. Dixon says the layman does not have specific knowledge in the area in which they are testifying. The expert would be somebody who has experience in applying their training to the matter at hand.

Nel points out that an expert witness should be able to show the court how they came to their conclusions and what processes they used. Dixon says if it is requested then yes. Nel says not just when requested, it’s essential for everything. Dixon says he agrees. Dixon then goes on a long explanation of how he used other experts’ reports and paired them up with his own knowledge and investigation. He acknowledges that he is not a ballistics expert, nor is he an expert in numerous other fields. In reconstructing the sequence of events, he believes that his training as a Geologist is quite applicable and he once again goes in to a long explanation of why.

Nel asks him if he is a sound expert. His answer is “I would hope that my evidence that I present is sound.” I really can’t help but laugh out loud at this answer. Nel then, fairly exasperated, asks again, “are you a sound expert, sir? Have you received training in decibels and sound?” Dixon answers that the sole purpose of the sound tests was to see if the sounds of a cricket bat hitting the door could be confused for the sound of gunfire. Nel wants to know what expert skills he used to do this. Dixon says the expertise used was reconstructing a situation. His part of the test was to wield the bat to produce the sound that other people were recording.

Nel asks him, who was involved in this expirement? Dixon says the range officer, Mr. Wolmarans (ballistics expert), Mr. van der Westhuisen (also ballistics expert), the wives of the ballistics experts, two sound recorders (he didn’t know which company), and possibly a few others.

Nel asks if he wore ear protection during the cricket bat test. Dixon says no. A cricket bat doesn’t make the same cracking noise at close range. Nel asks if his ears were ringing after he hit the door and he says he noticed some echoing.

Nel asks if his analysis of visibility in the dark required any expert skill. Dixon says that the instruments he used were his eyes. He says he wasn’t measuring light levels and he’s not an expert in this field. Nel asks if anybody else used instruments to measure light levels and he said not when he was present.

Nel recaps… so for the cricket bat test you just hit the door with a bat. And for the light test, you just looked with your eyes. Dixon agrees.

For the fiber evidence, Nel wants to know if he did any analysis. Dixon says he looked at them under a microscope and saw a consistency between the fibers on the door and the fibers on the bottom of the prosthesis. He did not go further to determine what type of material they were because in his mind he had excluded all other possibilities.

Nel asks him if he compared the fibers on the door to the fibers on the sock and Dixon says no, he did not have the sock for testing. He only looked at the fibers on the bottom of the prosthesis. Nel asks him if he ever saw the socks and he said he saw photos of them being worn at the scene but he didn’t actually examine them. His deduction was that the fibers that were attached to the sole of the prosthesis came from the sock that was worn.

Nel asks him if he ever had the socks in his hand. First Dixon says that on November 15th at the forensics laboratory he remembers the clothing being there but then continues on after some prodding from Nel that he never touched them. Nel wants to know why he’s avoiding the question. Instead of answering Nel’s question he just says “I did not pick them up.” Nel called him out on this and Dixon really couldn’t say much more.

Nel asks Dixon if he is a blood spatter expert. Dixon says he has received no training in this area. Nel points out that yesterday he referenced blood on the door when he was doing direct with Roux. He wants to know what inference he made about that blood.

crack thru bullet 2

Dixon answers that his inference was the panel was broken and there was blood on one side and not the other. Nel then asks, didn’t you tell the court yesterday that one panel fell on to blood? Dixon says he can’t say where the blood was that got on that panel.

Nel shows him some photos to test his knowledge of the scene and where items were found and Dixon can’t really comment. Nel is pointing out to him how silly it is for him to be giving testimony on blood and where it came from when he clearly doesn’t know the scene, nor is he qualified to testify about it.

Nel then covers Dixon’s expertise as a mark analyst. Dixon does believe he is an expert in this field and his evidence has been accepted in court a number of times.

Nel asks, at the forensics laboratory, one has to constantly do proficiency tests to indicate that you are still proficient in your area of expertise, is that correct? Dixon says in your main area of expertise, it is typically the norm to do one test per annum and for other areas, if they are available, once every two years.

Nel wants to know when he did his last proficiency test. Dixon does not recall. When pressed further by Nel he says that he thinks it was 2011 or 2012. Nel wants to know if he does any other refresher courses. Dixon talks for a long time about his experience, but does basically say that there is no course that teaches physical matching.

Oscar

Nel points out to Dixon that yesterday he referenced “a” cricket bat when talking about the marks. He wants to know if he used “the” cricket bat when doing his physical matching on the door. Dixon starts talking about the sound tests on the door and says that he used a different bat to hit the door. Nel stops him and points out that he’s not answering his question. The question was about the physical matching. Did he use the actual bat or not. It’s a pretty easy yes or no question. Dixon gives a very long winded answer that honestly I can’t even summarize.

Nel points out again that his question was whether or not he used the actual bat to do his physical matching. Another long winded answer on Dixon’s behalf finally reveals that he did hold the bat in his hand at the forensics laboratory on November 15th.

Nel wants to know if he ever consulted with Dr. Perumal (the pathologist who was at the autopsy for the Defense team). He says no, he did not. Nel wants to know if he read his report. He says yes, he did. Nel wants to know if Perumal’s report helped him reach his conclusions. Dixon says that Perumal’s report was very similar to Saayman’s report so he used Saayman’s. This is the same exact answer that Dr. Botha gave on the stand. This must be the standard Defense script for this question. Remember, Dr. Botha is the man who came to testify about the autopsy findings, not Dr. Perumal who was actually present for it.

One can pretty safely infer that Dr. Perumal did not want to come and testify because he cannot make the assertions that the Defense team wants him to make, most likely about the stomach contents. Also, Dixon is now being called out by Nel for not being an expert in many of the areas that he’s testifying about. There were ballistics experts that worked on this case for the Defense, but instead they are trying to sneak in evidence via Dixon and it’s not working so well for them. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the Defense team is having a hard time getting their qualified experts to come to court and support their theories.

Nel asks Dixon if he has drafted a report to support his evidence. Dixon says that in the course of examining materials and informing counsel, he did write various reports. So Nel calls him on this. He wants to know specifically which reports he has written. He stumbles here and then says they are on his computer at home. He starts to say that his reports include his observations about the lighting, he also took photos… and then Roux stands up.

Roux says he can help Nel out; he has a report that he’d be glad to give him and he hands it over. Nel looks at it and says that according to the paperwork it was drafted on April 5, 2014. It’s a report with photographs about the marks on the door. Dixon then chimes in and explains how he has updated various reports over the past year as information has changed. But what he’s testifying to in court is what is being asked of him in court, not necessarily what is in the reports.

This answer is obviously a red flag, as well as the fact that the Defense did not give Nel a report prior to Dixon’s testimony. Looking back at Oscar’s testimony over the past week, I think Nel did a great job of proving that Oscar tailored quite a bit of information on the stand. He seemed to be changing and adding things as the days went by. No doubt the Defense team is now scrambling to support the details that Oscar has changed or added. A perfect example of that is the “double tap” theory. That was thrown out after Mangena testified for the State and I guarantee you that is part of the reason why the Defense sent Wolmarans back to the shooting range to record the newly theorized “rapid succession” gunshots. You will read more about that later in this post.

The next report that Nel holds up that was just given to him by the Defense is the “origins of two contusions on the back” dated April 5, 2014. Also the “wood sequence in relation to position and posture” dated April 5, 2014.

Nel points out, there is no report here for the lighting conditions.

Dixon says there were bits of notes and paper sent over the course of a year. Nel points out that he’s reading from bits of paper in front of him today. Dixon says these are his notes to remind him of details. Nel tells him that if he had a proper report before court, then notes would not be necessary. Dixon says he was not requested to do that.

This whole exchange is pretty embarrassing. Dixon is flipping through his notes now and explaining what each one says. He’s also talking about the rest of the Defense investigative team and starts to get himself in trouble with that. He claims to have seen a draft of the ballistics report but not the final one.

Time for tea break.

When they come back Nel tells Dixon that since he has not read his reports yet, he is just going to ask him general questions at this point.

Nel wants to talk about the draft ballistics report from Wolmarans that Dixon has supposedly seen a copy of. Nel asks Dixon if he agrees with the sequence of shots that Wolmarans reported. Dixon says he thinks there may be differences from then to his interpretation now. Nel wants to know what the differences are. Dixon says he doesn’t know because he hasn’t seen the final report. Nel says, I’m not talking about the final report, I’m talking about the draft report that you saw. What are the differences? Dixon says he can’t remember because it was a while ago. Nel points out to him that he was the one who just said there were differences, so what are they? Dixon says he does not remember specific differences. He does remember that as the case progressed and more information became available things changed, but again, nothing specific. Dixon again verifies that he did not have access to the final report of Wolmarans.

This was a totally nonsensical, evasive answer.

Nel then asks him if he has seen the final report from the sound recording people. Dixon believes that the actual sound recording itself was essentially the report, meaning there was no written component. Nel asks him if he feels, as a scientific expert, that just recording sounds is enough. Dixon says yes. Nel points out that the court doesn’t know where they were, what recording equipment was used, how the door was set up, etc. All Nel wants to know is if Dixon, personally, feels that just recording sounds is enough. Dixon pauses a bit but ultimately answers yes without elaborating.

Nel asks if there were any decibel tests done of the two different sounds. Dixon says to the best of his knowledge, no decibel tests were done. Nel wants to know if Dixon agrees with him that there is a difference in decibel level between the gunshots and the bat sounds. Dixon agrees.

Nel then says there is something that Dixon has not shared with the court. That would be the retesting that was done last week. He asks Dixon about that. Dixon says he was not involved in the retesting but is aware that it was done. Dixon says that for the original tests a gun was obtained by Mr. Wolmarans, the same model that Oscar had. The gun was brand new out of its box but there was a problem with it and it kept jamming after each shot, so each shot had to be fired individually.

In order to replicate the rapid succession sound, they took a recording of the single shot and then repeated it to create the sound. But Dixon goes on to say that this is not considered to be a true reflection of events. Therefore, Mr. Wolmarans went back to shoot shots in succession to give a true recording of the noise rather than a repeated sound.

Nel points out to Dixon that when the sound tests were played in court, he stood there and identified those sounds, however he wasn’t present when some of them were done.

Nel puts to Dixon that this is about his integrity. He wants to know why he would be here in court testifying about gunshots when he wasn’t present for them. Dixon says because he has heard gunshots before. Nel tells him no, that’s not good enough. He wants to know why he identified gunshots that he was not present for when they were fired.

Nel tells Dixon that it is a serious thing to be testifying about sounds that he was not present for.

Roux objects. He believes that when the gunshot sounds were played in court, Dixon was not specifically asked to identify them as the test shots that were fired on the same night that the cricket bat sounds were recorded. He was just asked to identify them as gunshots.

Nel says his argument to the court is that Dixon never informed the court that the sound tests were done at two different times, he presented them as one occasion. The Judge tells him to argue that at the end of the case after they have all read the record.

I really think the Defense was trying to avoid having to put Wolmarans on the stand because, first, I think it’s possible that his opinion of the sequence of shots matches what Mangena said. And second, I think he was forced to go back to the shooting range after Oscar/the Defense changed their double tap story. I think they are trying to pawn it off on a gun that wasn’t working properly (sound familiar?) but it really was because the testing that they had did not match the brand new rapid succession theory. It’s all very suspicious. The more that Nel discredits Dixon, the more need for the Defense to now put Wolmarans on the stand.

Nel asks Dixon if they took any video of the testing that they did on the range. Dixon answers no. Nel points out that the only person who then can give the court any details about how these tests were done is him. He agrees but states that there were other people present.

Dixon now tries to explain to the court how he did the cricket bat testing – at what distances, how the bat was held, what was recorded, etc. but his recounting of it is quite confusing. Nel stops him and asks the Judge if he can request that the Defense turn over a report about the testing (not just a recording of the sounds) so he can review it and so that it can be handed up to the court as well. Roux says yes, he can do that. He also says the State is entitled to this. He was going to hand it over with his next witness, but he’s ok to do it now. They all agree.

And there it is… obviously Roux was trying to slip this past everybody, and uses the silly explanation “I was going to have the next expert do it” but surely everyone can see through that.

Nel then says, “since we now know that Mr. Wolmarans is going to be the next witness,” tell me what Wolmarans’ role was on your first night at the shooting range. This produced a good laugh from Oldwage.

Dixon says Wolmarans organized the range, as well as the recording people. He was there in a supervisory capacity. Mr. Wolmarans sat with the recording engineer and listened to the sounds at 60m and 180m. He was not involved with the striking of the bat.

On the same night that Dixon was there for the testing, the gunshots were fired by Mr. van der Westhuisen.

Nel wants to know now if the recording of the second night at the range (the test done last week) was ever played to him? Dixon says to the best of his memory, yes. Nel says it can’t be “to the best of your memory,” as an expert witness. Why would you say that? Dixon says “it’s a manner of speech.” Nel says “let us work with yes.”

He wants to know when he heard the recording. Dixon says this past week, the last few days. Nel wants to know where he was when he listened to it. Dixon says in the high court chambers on the 8th floor. Nel asks who was present. Dixon answers Mr. Wolmarans, himself, and the counsel seated in front. Nel wants to know if it was explained to him how the testing was done. Dixon answers, no he does not know the exact process they used and can only assume it was the same range. He has no knowledge of who fired the shots.

Nel goes back to the first night of the original testing and wants to know if the recording of the gunshots was ever played for him. Dixon says yes. Nel asks when. Dixon says he acquired copies and he listened to them himself. Dixon then says they were played to them the night the recordings were captured so that they did not leave the range with poor recordings. They had to make sure that everything worked.

Nel asks him how many shots were fired that night. Dixon says he cannot say exactly but it was not very many. Possibly 6 or 8. He said they were aware that because the gun was jamming, they would likely have to do the testing again. Also, he goes on to say that they did not have a lot of ammunition because the black talon ammunition is difficult to get.

Nel establishes with Dixon that there were two options that must have been discussed after that test – one option would be to do retesting and the other option would be to create the rapid succession sound by using electronics (repeating the sound of the single bullet as Dixon earlier testified.) Nel wants to know more about their discussion in relation to electronically engineering the sound.

Dixon says the sound engineer that they used was a music producer and the editing of recordings is a common aspect of sound production. Dixon had suggested that they play the recording in fast succession, however in order to present a sound that has not been tampered with by editing, Mr. Wolmarans went back to do the retesting with the gun. Dixon says there was no design or intent on the night of this testing to mislead the court, the prosecution or the defense.

Nel asks him, then why did you not tell this information to the court? Dixon says it didn’t come to his mind that it was in question.

Nel makes the point that they chose to use a music producer rather than somebody who specializes in the sounds of gunshots or explosions. Dixon starts talking about his discussion with the sound engineer that night, and starts to tell the court what the engineer said to him but Nel stops him. He does not want Dixon to give hearsay evidence.

Dixon then explains how he went online to listen to sound bites that are used by people when they dub them in to movies, like wood breaking, bats hitting, etc. Nel interrupts Dixon because he’s going off on a bender with his answer and as the two men are talking over each other, the Judge steps in and gently asks Nel to restrain himself. Nel cools off a bit and reminds the witness to respond to the actual question that is being answered.

Nel asks, was this sound expert an expert in recording sounds such as gunfire and explosions? Dixon says he does not have knowledge about the engineer’s expertise.

The next question Nel asks is if Dixon has ever heard the recording of the electronically changed gunfire from the first night of testing. Dixon says, on his computer he just hit the repeat button to hear what rapid succession would sound like. Nel says no, he’s referring to the recording by the music producer. Dixon says all the sounds heard were made by the music producer that evening. Nel says he’s going to keep repeating the question until he gets an answer. “Did you at any time listen to a recording by the music producer of the first night’s shots where they seem to be rapid?” Dixon says no. “To my knowledge I have never heard a digitally enhanced recording where the sounds which were made on the first night have been edited in to a rapid sequence of sounds.”

Nel asks Dixon if he is an expert on wound ballistics. Dixon says no. He then asks if he’s aware that Dr. Saayman is an expert on wound ballistics. Dixon says upon reviewing his CV, he’s aware that he has some expertise in that area.

Nel then asks Dixon if he ever consulted with the accused about the hitting of the door with the bat. Dixon answers, “to the best of my knowledge, and I did not record this, I asked the accused once what his position was and what it felt like when he hit the door.”

Nel asks him when that was. Dixon says he believes it was in March at the beginning of the trial. He also asks who was present. Dixon says both counsel and Mr. Wolmarans. Nel asks, “did the accused give you an answer?” Dixon says yes, he said there was a strong vibration. Nel asks, with which strike did he say there was a strong vibration? Dixon says the first strike. Nel wants to know if he asked him about the other strikes. Dixon says, if his memory serves him, it was just the first strike. Nel then wants to know if he asked him about his position in front of the door – if he moved or if it changed? Dixon does not recall this question. He believes he assumed that he was moving around as it would be unlikely that somebody would be standing in the same exact spot.

Nel asks to see Dixon’s notes that he has in front of him. The court hands them to Nel and he puts them down on the desk and continues with questioning. It looks like Vermeulen is taking a peek at them.

Nel receiving Dixon notes

Nel now wants to deal with Dixon’s ballistics expertise. Nel says, you have made a finding, and he’s using that word “finding” loosely, that the deceased was standing upright behind the door when she was shot in the hip. He wants to know which hole in the door that would be. Dixon says according to the reports of Mangena, and utilizing the height of the hole on the door, he concurs that it was hole A.

He then asks Dixon which bullet hole belongs to the bullet that missed the deceased. Dixon answers that in his opinion, none of the bullets missed her.

Nel then asks him which bullet hole belongs to the ricochet mark E on the toilet room wall. Dixon answers probably C, however C and D are close so it could be either. Nel wants to know why he answered that. Dixon says because the height of the arm injury is high. The deceased would have fallen after the hip injury but would start falling a bit slowly and then quicker as she goes down. He thinks the higher height of bullet B makes sense in hitting her arm. So, hole B goes along with the arm shot.

Nel wants to know how he is able to establish this. Dixon says he was present at the examination when probes were put in the holes by Mr. Wolmarans. Also, he has read the report of Mangena. The trajectories all come to the general area of the corner of the toilet room.

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He was looking not only looking at the action of the bullet and its path, he was also taking in to consideration where the person was standing and how they would fall.
Dixon also goes on to say that when a person is firing a gun, there tends to be a recoil which causes the hand to lift. If the person is firing successively, the barrel can move. He looked at the horizontal line from A to D and interpreted that the shots were fired in that order and the recoil accounts for the spread of the bullets.

door 4

Nel then says to Dixon, if I put it to you that the only bullet hole that can be linked to mark E with a laser is hole B, what would you say?

laser pointer 2

laser pointer showing trajectory of bullet b

Dixon says that he has looked at photographs taken by the police of their probes in the door versus the probes that Wolmarans put in the door and there are variations. Dixon says the more you put probes in to a door, the wood expands so it’s not exact.

Nel tells him that he is talking about a laser, not a probe. But not only that, Oscar agrees that he took that position from the corner when he fired that shot.

Nel asks, taking that in to consideration and knowing that bullet hole B is the only one that can be matched up with mark E, what does he think about that? Dixon says that it is possible to put the laser through the holes and move them slightly up and down, and you could hit a number of different spots. He rambles on for several minutes about the different factors that go in to reconstructing the scene, then reminds the court that he’s not a ballistics expert.

Nel then asks Dixon if he has seen Wolmarans link bullet hole C with mark E. Dixon is not sure about that, he cannot recall. Nel says, we are talking about the one particular day that you were at the house with this exact door. Can you remember which hole Wolmarans linked with mark E? Dixon asks to look at his notes. Nel hands them over, Dixon reviews them and then says he doesn’t have a record of that information.

Nel asks him why he doesn’t have a record of this. Dixon says there was debate. Different people from different areas of expertise are looking at a situation where there are many variables. He goes on to say this is why he said earlier that there were differences in information over time. He says, “my understanding of what happened at the crime scene has even changed over the past week when I see more evidence and more photos because the more information you have, the better a picture one can draw.”

Nel asks, did Mr. Wolmarans use a laser? Dixon says yes. Nel asks, on that day? Dixon says yes.

Nel then refers him to a photo and asks him if the photo is cropped.

test board

Dixon answers that the board was large and the area of interest was cropped. Nel asks, where is the photograph of the whole board? Dixon says it’s on his computer at home. Nel says, so you can bring it to us tomorrow? Dixon says yes. Nel wants to know if splinters can be seen on other parts of that board. Dixon does not give a direct answer, he appears agitated and starts talking about the board and how it’s a ballistic test and his understanding was that Mr. Wolmarans would be giving testimony about this board. Nel stops him and tells him to just bring the complete photograph tomorrow.

Nel then has Dixon look at two more photographs. These are photos of a mark on the door. They are not shown on the screen but I believe they are referring to these photos.

abrasion on door

sock fibers in abrasion

These were taken on March 13th, 2014, in the courtroom. Nel asks him if he has other photographs of that particular mark from his previous examinations. Dixon says there are a number of photographs of the door that were taken at the scene. Nel clarifies, photos of the mark (not the door)? Dixon says yes, photos of the mark. But goes on to say that the lighting here in court showed the mark very nicely. In previous examinations the mark was not as visible. He saw it, he could see the fibers, but they didn’t have good pictures. But the lighting in this courtroom is good so he took pictures there.

Nel says he hears what he’s saying but wants to know if he, Mr. Dixon, has other close up photos of this particular mark with the fibers. Dixon says no, he didn’t take any photographs. Nel, very animated, says so the first time you took photographs of that mark is here in court?

Dixon says that he has taken other photographs but he doesn’t have any where the fibers are clearly visible. So the Defense has no evidence of fibers on the door prior to March 13, 2014. Nel then asks Dixon if he remembers that when he came in to court on March 13, there were people cleaning the door and Dixon was upset by this. Dixon remembers. Nel goes on to say that it was no longer an exhibit, it was in the public domain. And this is the first time you took close up photos of that mark, why?

Dixon says in his years of experience with the forensics laboratory, he has often been required to attend crime scenes a long time after the event has occurred. You have to extract original information from the existing scene. Dixon had seen the mark and had seen photographs taken on the day of the event by the police. However when he saw it in court with the lighting, he thought “yes, that is nice.” He didn’t have the opportunity with good lighting and a good camera to take it before that.

Nel asks him if he excluded that those fibers could be from the cleaning cloth that was used by the cleaning ladies that day. Dixon says he did not observe the cleaners putting an excessive amount of energy in to cleaning the door. He stands by his conclusion that the fibers are from the sock. He did not take a fiber sample from the door. He only examined the fiber that was picked off of Oscar’s prosthesis and compared it visually to the fiber on the door. He did not do any physical testing to rule out that it was from a cleaning cloth.

Truly, I cannot make this stuff up. The Defense, in my opinion, has clearly done some very shady stuff with the sound testing, the mark analysis, the lame lighting analysis, Oscar’s scream test which may or may not exist, their shoddy stand-in pathologist, etc. Part of me almost felt sorry for this guy Dixon because he was clearly used by the Defense. But then I am jolted back to reality and remember that this is a paid witness and he voluntarily put his neck out on the line to say what the Defense wanted him to say. They didn’t force him to sell his soul.

Nel now refers to Dixon’s report about the “wound sequence in relation to position and posture.”

Nel notes that Dixon wrote the following: “secondary wood projectiles caused lacerations to the right forearm and punctuate abrasions around the entrance wound to the hip.” Dixon says yes, he saw them on a photograph that he reviewed which was taken at the post-mortem after the deceased was washed. Nel says that Dr. Saayman’s evidence was to the contrary that he did not observe any.

Dixon says he’s aware of that. Nel wants to know if Saayman was wrong. Dixon says he saw a photograph of the wound after it had been cleaned and around the wound were tiny little spots where it looked like there had been bleeding. Nel points out to Dixon that he was not at the post-mortem and he’s not a wound ballistics expert. Dixon agrees. Nel goes on to point out that even though Dixon is not a qualified expert, he is still willing to say that Saayman made a mistake.

Dixon says he is not saying that Saayman made a mistake, he is just stating what he observed. Nel wants to know if Dixon is willing to concede that Saayman would know better than him.. Dixon says that if Saayman were to state categorically that those spots were not made from splinters then that is his statement. But from what Dixon observed on the photograph, as well as from other photographs of wounds and the sequence of events, his deduction was that it was most probably caused by the small lightweight wooden splinters.

Nel says it’s on record that Saayman’s findings do not show any marks of that nature that Dixon is testifying to.

Roux objects and says they are looking for a photo of what they are discussing. He wants Nel to reserve his question until they can show him the photo. Nel says, as the court pleases.

He moves on to a photo of the bottom of Oscar’s prosthesis.

bottom of right prosthesis

Nel asks him who took the photograph. Dixon says that the photo was taken by Mr. van der Westhuisen. Nel wants to know if he was present. Dixon says no. Nel wants to know who extracted the fiber from the foot. Dixon says Mr. van der Westhuisen and he was not present for that either. Dixon says he was not involved with the case at that time.

Nel asks him, when did he get involved in the case? Dixon says on the Friday of the bail hearing verdict. Nel asks how he got involved. He says he received a phone call asking him if he would be willing to assist the Defense team in the reconstruction of the scene.

They then look at the graph that he testified about this morning. Nel points out that in that graph, Dixon used bullet hole C as the hole that can be linked to mark E. He didn’t use any other holes. Dixon says that was the most probable hole.

Nel then has him look at a photo of the blue mark on the buttock and tells him that Saayman would not agree with his opinions about the cause of bruising. That mark was not caused by the magazine rack, but by a bullet. Dixon is rambling trying to explain his conclusions. He said these are his conclusions based on the evidence that he had available.

Nel has the court hand the cricket bat to Dixon. Dixon states that he believes when the bat hit at the lowest mark (the 3rd strike) that is when the bat went through the door panel and created the marks that can be seen on the bat.

tip of cricket bat

He believes the small plank that broke fell inwards to the toilet room. When he conducted his testing, the same thing happened to him. He also says it is possible that you could get marks on the bat from the bat being wedged in between the panel and twisting it back and forth. He does not exclude this as a possibility.

They break for lunch.

Upon return, Nel wants to review what Dixon had previously said about the kinetic energy of the bullet moving Reeva backwards as the bullet hit her in the hip. Dixon says when the bullets hit the hip and upper arm it transfers energy to the body and could cause it to go backwards.

Nel says, we see that in movies when a person gets shot and they are flung backwards. Is it something like that? Dixon says he doesn’t think so. Nel says, because it’s impossible. A bullet that weighs that amount cannot move a person backwards. Dixon tries to back-peddle and says that Reeva’s hip wound caused the instability moving her backwards, he was not stating that the blow flung her backwards. Nel welcomes him to look for any literature that indicates that the force of a bullet can make somebody move backwards. Dixon says he will attempt to look for something to please the court.

Dixon testifies that he has been to three post-mortems in his life. Nel wants him to look at a photo that he (Dixon) provided in his report that points out a bruise that was not identified at the autopsy. Nel points out that there is artificial shadowing on this photo.

Nel points out shadowing on pic

Dixon says the area that he interpreted to be a bruise has a lighter edge around it before the dark shadowing at the edges of the photo. So he believes it could have been a bruise.

Nel points out that Dr. Botha did not identify this as a bruise, nor did Perumal or Saayman. Yesterday when Dixon testified about this bruise he stated that it was only seen on this one photograph which was taken at the scene on the morning of February 14th. By the next day at autopsy, the bruise was gone. Dixon says he can only say what he saw in the photographs. He does not know if Botha, Perumal or Saayman had access to this photo from February 14th. Nel asks him if he will agree that the bruise was not seen at the post-mortem. And Dixon agrees, he could not identify that mark from the post-mortem photos.

Nel then asks for Dixon’s notes again which he has now slipped in to his pocket. He was probably hoping that Nel forgot about them. He grabs them out of his pocket and hands them over.

Dixon pulling notes out of pocket

They now look at the autopsy report and read Saayman’s finding about the bruise on the buttock. It states that there was no foreign object found beneath the skin in that area. Nel asks Dixon from this, did he conclude that it could be a bruise from when she fell against the magazine rack? Dixon says taking this finding from Saayman, plus the photograph plus his reconstruction of the events and the magazine rack, he did make that interpretation.

Nel then has him look at page 8 of the autopsy report. Dixon seems surprised by this page, as if he hasn’t read it before. Nel has him read it out loud. It’s where Saayman describes how the shattered hip, pelvis and shrapnel caused the bruising on the buttock.

Nel tells him that he just made an inference without reading the full document and wants to know why he would do that. Dixon gives an answer that again, I don’t know how to summarize. It made no sense. But he did very kindly point out to the court that he was a “layman” in this area.

Nel tells him that it’s very irresponsible of him to be making inferences in areas where he’s not an expert. Dixon’s response is that he was only testifying to what he saw. Nel tells him, “you interpreted it to fit your case.” Dixon says he does not have a case, he has a scenario which he was recreating.

Nel asks Dixon why he would come to this court and give evidence without reading the full report. Dixon says he read the document a while ago. Dixon can’t really give a good reason and Nel has made him look like a complete fool at this point.

Nel asks him which days he visited the crime scene. Dixon says the first day he was there was the day of the bail hearing verdict. He didn’t do much, they were just assessing what they needed him to do and at the time they thought that primer residue may be of importance. Dixon says this changed with time to other things. Nel asks him what other things and he answers he was asked to look at the marks and what caused them, and “so on and so forth.” Nel points out that it is of concern to him that he would use a phrase like “so on and so forth” in court. Dixon says there was no definitive statement of what exactly he needed to do, it evolved over time as new things were discovered.

Nel asks him if there was anything that he was asked to investigate on his own, without assistance from anybody else on the team. He answers, the suspected varnish on the prosthesis from the door to prove contact.

Nel asks him if he ever analyzed the varnish on the prosthesis and could it be linked to the door. Dixon answers yes, he analyzed it and the material that he found on it had the identical chemical characteristics to the varnish removed from the door. Nel asks him when he removed the varnish from the door to analyze it. Dixon says a piece of wood from the door was given to Mr. Wolmarans last year in a sealed evidence bag and he received that bag from Mr. Wolmarans. Dixon found that the two varnishes had the same composition.

Nel wants to know if there was anything else he was requested to do on his own. Dixon says he was also asked to work out a sequence of events.

Nel wants to know where the cricket bat is that was used at the range for their sound test. Dixon says the bat is in Mr. Wolmarans’ possession. Nel also wants to know what happened to the first firearm that they used for the test (the one that jammed). Dixon answers that he does not know.

Nel asks him if he knows what ammunition was used for the testing. Dixon says it was a problem getting the black talon ammunition, the black colored one, so if his memory is correct it was ranger ammunition that they used, which he says is the same design.

Dixon then says he was not tasked with sourcing ammunition and fumbles a bit here… he goes on to say they did tests on the shooting range the night before the sound recording and the ranger bullets were used the night before. The black talon was used for the actual test and the recording.

Dixon continues on saying it was dark that night, he doesn’t remember everything but there are likely photographs taken from that night, although he doesn’t have them, but he recollects discussing the ammunition issue with Mr. Wolmarans.

Nel asks, who took photographs on that night? Dixon answers Mr. van der Westhuisen. Nel asks him what he took photos of. Dixon is not sure, he wasn’t following him around. Nel asks him if he was photographed. He says he presumes he was but he was not paying attention to that, he was concentrating on the tests on the door.
Nel wants to know if he has seen photographs of this test. Dixon says no. Nel asks are these photos seen anywhere, in any reports? Dixon says no. Nel asks if there was a video camera. Dixon says no, it was very dark.

Nel then asks, you said you had gunshot sounds on your computer from that very first night, correct? Dixon says he received some files from Mr. Wolmarans later. Nel says, so you still have the results of the first night of shooting on your computer at home? Dixon says yes. Nel asks if he’ll bring them to court tomorrow. He says yes.

They adjourn a half hour early today so Nel has time to read through the reports he just received today.

Oscar Trial – Day 22, April 15 Part 2 DIXON

The next defense witness is Roger Dixon. He is qualified as a geologist. He worked in forensic science at SAPS from 1994 to 2012. He was previously the head of the department that Vermeulen (the State’s bat expert) worked in and Vermeulen is now the head. He has testified in court before although not often. He estimates about 3-4 times per year.

The first item he was tasked with by the Defense was to examine the lighting of the bedroom. He went to Oscar’s home and closed the curtains, switched off all the lights and then looked around to see what he could see. With all lights off, including electronic equipment, on a dark moonless night you could only see a little bit of light at the end of the passage to the bathroom. The room was completely dark. He could not see his hand in front of his face. He did this on March 25, 2014. He said he picked a moonless night because that was the condition on Feb 14, 2013.

In the bedroom close to the bed are two light switches. They have tiny blue lights on them but they do not give off light.

The CD player (amp) light does gives off a little bit of light, but only enough to see your hand in front of it. With your back to that same light, you can’t see in to the darker areas of the room.

He also testified that when you first close the curtains and turn around, your eyes take a while to adjust to the pitch darkness. If you stand in the room for a while and your eyes become accustomed, you will start picking up shapes in the room, but it’s not quick.

Dixon confirms that the light in the toilet was not working. All the lights to the bathroom are controlled by one switch which is on the right hand side of the entrance to the bathroom. The bulb in the toilet room was not functional.

On March 25, he also went to the outside of the Stipps house. Since February 2013, a new home has been constructed in between Oscar’s house and the Stipp’s house but if you look past the corner of it, you can still see approximately in that direction. They stood in the street with the Stipps house to their backs to do their testing on the bathroom.

The photo depicts the small balcony off of the Stipps’ bedroom which is just above their garage. Their backs were facing this part of the house during the tests.

stipp small bedroom balcony

Roux mentions that it was the evidence of Mrs. Stipp that their bedroom curtains are always open. He wants to know what Dixon sees in this picture. Dixon points out that the curtains are draping fully closed without being pulled back. He’s trying to discredit Mrs. Stipp.

I’m not surprised that their curtains are closed. They are witnesses in a murder trial and the defense has been conducting tests near their home for several months. I would close my curtains too!

Dixon first took a photo of Oscar’s bathroom with all of the lights off. The photo is basically black depicting the pitch black condition of the home with no lights on.

bathroom from outside no lights

Next they look at a photo of the inside of the bathroom. A replacement door has been put in the frame.

inside bathroom

The next photo shows a model kneeling on the floor, which is intended to depict Oscar on his stumps. The purpose of Roux showing this photo is also to discredit the Stipps’ testimony about seeing a figure walking in front of the window that night.

inside bathroom model kneeling

(I just have to inject a funny side note here… when I first saw this photo, all I could think of was The Blair Witch Project, with the creepy guy standing in the corner of the room.)

This photo shows the bathroom with the lights on and the toilet room door fully closed. The toilet room light is still not working and the toilet room is not visible from outside without that light.

outside bathroom model standing

The next photo shows the bathroom with the lights on and the toilet room door slightly open. Dixon said the degree of lightness in that toilet room increases the more the door is open.

outside bathroom door slightly open

This photo shows the toilet room door totally open. The toilet window is much brighter now and the door also obscures a good portion of the open window. The model can now be seen in the middle of the frosted window. You can no longer see him clearly; he looks more like a silhouette behind that window.

toilet door fully open

They then look at a photo where the model is on his knees facing outside. The toilet door is slightly open. For reference, the window sill is approximately 1.1 meters above the ground.

outside bathroom model kneeling

Dixon testifies that he has examined the bathroom door. He believes it was done on November 8, 2013. This examination was done at Oscar’s house and the door was reinstalled by the SAPS. Then on November 15th they went to the forensic laboratory in Silverton where in the presence of Vermeulen and Mangena, they examined the door again.

Dixon’s finding was that the damage on the right side of the door was caused by a cricket bat that hit it very hard. He said the marks on the side of the frame and on the inside of the doorframe on the panel are consistent with damage by hard blows of a cricket bat. The exam showed that there were probably only 3 blows.

They look at a police photograph of the door and the labels that were put there by the police.

reconstructed door at scene

Dixon now demonstrates on the door in court where the cricket bat hit the frame of the door. He believes this was the first hit.

dixon pointing to mark

Another bat strike hit in this location.

dixon pointing to mark 2

And one more bat strike hit here.

dixon pointing to mark 3

Roux asks him if he ever tested the sound of the cricket bat on the door. Dixon says in order to test whether the bat did hit the door, they took a duplicate door from the house made of the same wood and design and did conduct tests. They hit the door with the bat and they fired bullets through it in order to replicate the effects. Dixon was the one who hit the door with the bat.

The tests were done on a shooting range at night in order to eliminate as much extraneous noise as possible. One recording station was at 60 meters and the other was at approximately 180 meters.

The test door was situated so that it was at the same angle to the recorder as the real life door would have been to the window.

They prepare to play the tape and Oscar plugs his ears in the dock.

oscar plugging ears

Here is a clip of the sounds that they played in court (heard at 00:40 on this clip)

Dixon states that they first recorded the sounds at a distance of approximately 60 meters.

He did three bat swings wielding the bat over his head as Oscar stated he did in court. This was the first set of sounds heard on the tape.

roger holding bat 2

roger holding bat 1

He next did four bat swings in rapid succession with the bat low and in a batting position, hitting the door with the tip. This was the second set of sounds heard on the tape.

roger swinging bat low

They now move on to some further analysis of the door.

The next picture shows the bullet hole D. It has a crack running through it.

crack thru bullet 1

crack thru bullet 2

Dixon believes that this bullet hole was in the door first prior to the cricket bat creating the crack. If the crack was there first and the bullet hit it, it would have likely taken a chunk out of the door.

He also points out some spots of blood that can be seen just above the bullet hole on the left portion of the crack. He says the reason why one side of the crack has blood on it and the other doesn’t is because these pieces of wood likely fell in two different directions on to the floor.

The next photo is from their testing. They first put a crack in the door with the bat and then they fired a hole through it. He points out that this crack is continuous whereas the crack on the actual door is not.

test hole with crack

The next photo they look at is the abraded area on the door panel. Dixon also points to where it can be seen on the door in court.

abrasion on door

dixon showing location of door abrasion

Dixon points out that varnish is smooth and when you make varnish rough, you get a light reflection like you see in the photo. At the top of the abrasion just below the curved edge you can see two white spots.

sock fibers in abrasion

Dixon says that these are white fibers stuck in the varnish. He also says that in reconstructing this scene, the only material consistent with the fibers is the white sock worn over the prosthesis of Oscar.

They break for lunch.

Roux introduces the next photo. This is the sole of the right prosthesis.
He points out with the white cursor an area that has vertical striations and a chunk missing.

bottom of right prosthesis

Dixon says this was caused by the foot impacting on the door. The dark vertical striation is from the varnish of the door. He says only a forceful kick upwards could cause that.

They next look at a picture of Oscar’s prosthetics as he was wearing them that night.

prosthetic legs

Dixon says the fibers that were stuck on the door match the fibers of these socks.

Roux wants to know if it’s possible that the mark could have been caused when the panels were on the floor and Oscar stepped on them. Dixon does not believe that the act of stumbling or stepping would give sufficient force to cause that damage.

In this next image, Dixon’s finger is pointing to the top most impact point of the cricket bat.

dixon pointing to top mark

And in this side view image of the door, you can see two bat impressions one on top of the other next to the white marker.

top and bottom bat marks

He believes that the mark on the bottom was the hardest blow that broke the panel. The panel is at its thinnest in that location right on the edge of the frame.

bat mark on frame

Dixon testifies that the wood is meranti and it is splintery and brittle. There would have been lots of splinters that broke off along with the panel itself.

The door is not fitted in to the doorframe such a way that it is completely firm. The walls around it consist of brick, plaster and tiles on top. He believes that when the first blow struck, there was a strong vibration. That vibration went through the door to the outer jam and caused the tiles and plaster to fall.

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The next image shown is a close up of the top mark, the mark that the defense believes is the 3rd bat mark that Vermeulen didn’t identify as being caused by the bat. Dixon believes that this strike would not have been sufficient enough to break the panel in.

close up of top bat mark

An image of the cricket bat is now shown and the white cursor indicates where there are grooves from the door.

tip of cricket bat

Dixon says cricket bats are made of English willow. It is a fine grain wood and its lightweight. When these bats are manufactured, they are created to survive the repeated blows of cricket balls therefore they are subjected to compression so there are no air pockets in the wood. The tip of the bat is very dense. The meranti wood has much larger cells and is splintery. When it is hit hard, the wood will snap and throw splinters.

The next image is a close up of the strike to the frame, the first hit, which was very hard and caused the tiles to fall.

oscar bat mark on frame

And this photo depicts the test that Dixon conducted on the door. This was his bat mark on the same area of the door frame. He says he hit that frame quite hard but he didn’t have the strength to cause the same damage that Oscar caused on his door.

test bat mark on frame

This photo, which was taken by Col Motha, shows the door from the inside of the toilet. This was the original reconstruction. He points out that on each bullet hole there is wood splintering in a vertical pattern to the left.

bullet holes from inside toilet

And this photo is taken from the outside of the toilet room, looking in through the broken out panel. He points out that the panel in the door was one big piece. The fact that it was found in multiple pieces shows that it was ripped out in pieces.

door from outside with panel out

The white cursor in this photo is pointing to plaster dust. A shoe print can also be seen to the left of that.

plaster on door

This next photo shows a better view of the shoe print in between the two bullet holes.

foot print on door

Dixon testifies that this shoe print could only happen if somebody walked on it. Roux wants to know how this fits in with the preservation of a crime scene. Dixon says, “it is most unprofessional.” He goes on to say that upon arrival at the scene, unless there is an urgent need to save a life, there is no pressing need to walk around the scene. The first person there should secure it first.

They show another close up of the bullet hole with the plaster dust shoe print over it.

close up of bullet hole and shoe print

The next holes are the test shots that were fired by Dixon and Mr. Wolmarans on the test door. This is the same door that they used for the cricket bat testing. This was done at an indoor shooting range.
This photo depicts the entry point of the bullets. These were taken at a right angle, slightly downward.

test bullets entry

And these are the exit points of the bullets.

test bullets exit

During the test firing, this board was placed behind the door and used to determine the distribution of the wood splinters. You can see where the bullet hit. And then above that, all of the black specks are where the splinters were distributed.

test board

Dixon reviewed autopsy photos (which they do not show in court) to see where the wood splinters were lodged in the deceased. He says that after she was washed and then photographed, you could see small punctures, not bruising, around the hip entry wound.

On the arm, there was a patch of wood splinters. There were also some larger wood splinters at the waist level. He says these were caused by being at close proximity to the door.

Roux asks him how close is “close proximity”?

Dixon says based on his testing, at 20cm away from the door, there were very few splinters. He says it is possible for some larger pieces to travel further. They did put their board at various distances and at 60cm they only got one or two splinters.

• At 6cm, quite a lot of splinters.
• At 10cm, they still got quite a lot.
• At 20cm and further, there was a sharp drop in the quantity.

Taking this in to consideration, when he looked at photos of the arm of the deceased he inferred that the arm was stretched out, above bullet hole A, leaning towards the door handle.

dixon demonstrating arm position

There were splinters on her forearm as well as on the top portion around the wound. There were also pieces of wood found on the fabric of her t-shirt. Dixon believes that the upper portion of her arm, as well as her forearm, were close to the door when the wound was inflicted.

Next is a photo taken by police on February 14th at 5:42am. These are the contusions on her back.

back abrasions

Dixon says that what they see on this photo was not seen in subsequent photos due to the moving and washing of the deceased. In addition to the two large dark contusions, there is also a bruise to the right where the white cursor is pointing. The bruise is located right at the area of the spinal process.

The striations that are seen on the largest abrasion are almost vertical in nature. He believes that these occurred when Reeva fell against a hard, blunt object.

The next image is not shown on the screen in court but I was able to get a screenshot of Dixon holding the photo. It shows the backside of the deceased with a white scale pointing to where the abrasions were located on her back. They appear to be higher up than I anticipated. I think this may lean in favor of the bullet fragment hitting her back and not the magazine rack because I don’t see the rack hitting her that high up.

location of abrasion on back

Lividity has set in so there is now redness in the area and the bruising that was previously seen to the right of the contusions can no longer be seen.

But what can be seen is on the inside middle of the right buttock is a severe vertical contusion which is blackened. Leading outward towards the outside of the buttock, is a bruise line that is slightly curved.

According to Saayman’s autopsy, he could feel nothing inside the buttock, no objects, that would have caused that. In Dixon’s opinion, the positioning of that bruise is consistent with the deceased having fallen hard against the magazine rack. The sideways projecting bruise could be the edge of the magazine rack.

Dixon is then given the original magazine rack in court. He believes her buttocks and her back hit the front of the rack as she was coming down.

Dixon receives magazine rack

dixon pointing to magazine rack

Roux informs Dixon that Mangena’s testimony was that Reeva was seated on top of the magazine rack when the 3rd and 4th shots hit her, and there was also a shot that missed her and ricocheted off the wall hitting her across the back causing the two marks. He wants to know what Dixon thinks about that.

Dixon believes that if this were the case, the bullet would have to be smooth, so as not to cut the skin, and also traveling upwards in order to get the vertical striations that were seen. He doesn’t see this happening.

Roux asks him if he knows about the projectile that was found in the toilet bowl. He says yes, it was a bullet core. It was found after the initial investigation by police. The size of the bullet core is inconsistent with having come from one of the bullets that penetrated the body and fragmented. Therefore, theorizing that this is the bullet that ricocheted off the wall and missed her.

Dixon can’t conceive of a scenario where the wounds on the back would be caused by a ricochet.

They adjourn for the day.