Oscar Trial – Day 15, March 25 – State Rests MOLLER, MARITZ, VERMEULEN

Moller is back on the stand. He is talking about Oscar’s phones.

Oscar’s phone number ending in 4949 is the one that was seized at the scene.

Oscar’s phone number ending in 0020 is the one that was turned in by the Defense on Feb 26, 2013. This is the one that was primarily used by Oscar on February 13 and 14.

Moller verifies he used XRY software to do the data extraction on the phone that was seized on the scene.

For the other phone that was turned in later, there were 3 types of extractions completed – one with Cellebrite software, one done by Apple in the US, and one completed on an updated version of the XRY software on March 5 of this year.

The paper and electronic downloads of these devices were given to the Defense.

The communication analysis that he did, based on the records provided from the service provider, not only included details about the communication but also about movement.

These phone records can show you phone calls, text messages and GPRS activity. GPRS is all of the internet activity (social media, WhatsApp chat, etc). The cell towers that were used for each action are noted on these phone records as well. This is how they are able to track movement.

Rather than bringing large paper reports to court to show what was found, Moller compiled all of the data in to charts so the information could be visualized. It is much easier to understand both content and movement when put in to chart format.

The first chart compiled was for Reeva’s communication and movement.

diagram of Reevas calls

The following is a list of her communications for February 13:

12:11:50 – GPRS connection – 17 seconds

13:02:52 – Incoming voice call from 4949 (Oscar) – 241 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s house

13:07 to 13:40 – 4 more GPRS connections. The last internet connection lasted for 7,340 seconds (roughly 2 hours).

MTSMS – incoming text message from unknown number

15:41:54 – Incoming voice call from 4949 (Oscar) – 93 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s house.

15:54:27 – Incoming voice call from 0020 (Oscar) – 113 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s house.

17:12:57 – Incoming voice call from 0020 (Oscar) – 63 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s house.

Some more GPRS activity

17:44:54 – Outgoing call to 0020 (Oscar) – 144 seconds – she had moved, different tower now.

For the remainder of the day there were only GPRS connections made by the device.

20:04:00 – GPRS – 17 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s.

20:04:17 – The last GPRS of the day – 41,029 seconds (over 11 hours) – tower closest to Oscar’s.

Moller reminds the Judge that if she would like to see the content of those GPRS connections (potentially WhatsApp chats) she could look back at the data downloads that he provided yesterday to see what the specific content was for those times. Nel had Moller point this out right after he spoke about the GPRS that started at 20:04:00.

The next chart is for Oscar and it includes both of his phone numbers.

diagram of Oscars calls

They first look at the information for the 4949 device.

4949 Number

February 13

17:15 to midnight – only 5 GPRS connections made. No phone calls made.

February 14

Incoming text messages were received on this phone.

One incoming voice call was relayed to the voice mailbox center. The tower was listed as “no cell ID in ticket”. This means that the cell phone was switched off during that time and the messages would be delivered once the phone was turned on.

0020 Number

February 13

17:30:46 – GPRS – 254 seconds – Mitrand Gardens tower

As Oscar made more GPRS connections during this time frame, the towers indicated that he was moving closer towards his home.

17:44:54 – Incoming call from Reeva – 144 seconds – The Mint NGA tower

17:56:51 – Incoming call from 7775 – 307 seconds – Mustek George Rd tower

18:07:22 – Outgoing call to 5937 – 522 seconds – Volpatron CelC NGA tower

18:47:59 – Outgoing call to 7775 – 56 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s

20:25:07 – Outgoing call to 3964 – 1,757 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s. This was the last voice call made prior to the shooting.

4 GPRS connections made by the device for the remainder of the night.

February 14

01:48:48 – GPRS – 309 seconds – tower closest to Oscar’s (the remaining are all on the same tower as well)

03:18:45 – GPRS – 75 seconds

03:19:03 – Outgoing call to 2251 (Johan Stander) – 24 seconds

03:20:02 – GPRS – 79 seconds

03:20:05 – Outgoing call to 082911 (ambulance service) – 66 seconds

03:21:22 – GPRS – 61 seconds

03:21:33 – Outgoing call to 6797 (Baba, security) – 9 seconds

03:21:47 – Outgoing call to 121 (voicemail) – 7 seconds

03:22:05 – Incoming call from 6797 (Baba, security)

03:55:02 – Outgoing call to 8888 (Justin Devaris) – 123 seconds

Another GPRS for 83 seconds

04:01:38 – Outgoing call to 7775 (Deco – Heinrich Pistorius) – 54 seconds

2 more GPRS connections

04:09:03 – Outgoing call to 6940 (Peet Van Zyl) – 11 seconds

04:09:42 – Outgoing call to 6940 (Peet Van Zyl) – 13 seconds

04:10:21 – Outgoing call to 6940 (Peet Van Zyl) – 3 seconds

04:11:25 – Incoming call from 6940 (Peet Van Zyl) – 49 seconds

A few more GPRS connections

Then after this time, all incoming calls were diverted to the voice mailbox center. No outgoing calls were made.

The phone was pinging to the tower closest to Oscar’s up until 8:00am and then it left the location (meaning that somebody took it with them when they left Oscar’s house and it wasn’t the police)

That’s all for Nel. Roux is up to cross-examine.

Roux asks Moller how it would be possible for Reeva’s phone to still have active GPRS activity after her death. In particular the GPRS connection that started on Feb 13, at 20:04:17 (while she was alive) and lasted for 41,029 seconds (11+ hrs), ending after her death.

He explains that one of the applications on the device was still open and connected to the network. I wonder if we’ll find out more about this. This is where Moller reminded the Judge that she could go back to the data report and find out specifically what Reeva was doing on her phone at the time.

He testifies there are also other reasons why smart phones connect to GPRS networks such as email updates, automatic cell phone updates, etc. It doesn’t necessarily require human interaction to activate GPRS. From billing records alone, you cannot specify human interaction. (But again, you can also look back to the data reports to find out if there was human interaction.)

Roux then reviews the security call logs from February 14, 2013.
These are the calls that security guard Baba received:

Incoming call at 03:15:51 – 16 seconds (Stipp)

Incoming call at 03:16:15 – 0 seconds, not answered (Nhlengethwa)

Incoming call at 03:16:36 – 44 seconds (Nhlengethwa)

Incoming call at 03:21:33 – 9 seconds (Oscar)

Then Baba’s outgoing call to Oscar was after this and lasted for 12 seconds. This is the “everything is fine” call.

Incoming call at 03:27 – 0 seconds, not answered (Stipp)

Roux points out that Oscar called his voicemail in between the time that he called Baba at 3:21:33 and when Baba called back at 3:22:05. The voicemail call was at 03:21:47 and lasted 7 seconds. He asks Moller if he is aware that on iPhones the voicemail button at the bottom can easily be pushed by accident when trying to dial a number. Moller agrees that he has heard this. Roux suggests that Oscar did not intentionally call his voicemail at that time, it was an accident.

Roux then asks Moller if he knows who was using Oscar’s phone at the time the calls were made (and then answered) to Peet Van Zyl between 4:09:03 and 4:11:25. And he says no, he does not. It’s Oscar’s phone but he does not know who was using it at the time.

Roux focuses next on the text messages between Oscar and Reeva on WhatsApp. Out of the approximate 1,700 messages between them, only 4 were chosen to be read in court by the State. Roux wants to know why only these 5 were relevant.

Moller explains that he was looking for ones that stood out from their normal, ordinary conversations. Roux pointedly asks him if he was looking for arguments and he agrees he was. Moller clarifies that it wasn’t just 4 text messages it was 4 conversations (that lasted over several texts.)

Roux also wants to address the message that was read regarding the Tashas shooting incident. Roux asks Moller if he could find a message where Oscar says he asked Darren to take the blame for him. He says no he could not. The only message relating to that incident that they could find was the one read yesterday.

Roux now spends a lot of time going through the more loving messages exchanged between Oscar and Reeva. He also points out that some of the arguments that were noted yesterday were over somewhat quickly. This is evidenced by text messages the next day using words like baby and showing kiss symbols like XX.

For the record… listening to Roux read flirty text messages and say “kiss, kiss” repeatedly in court may require me to seek therapy at some point. 🙂

Reeva text pic

RS: You like it?
OP: I love it
RS: XX

RS: Morning Ozzy
OP: Morning Baba

He is also pointing out a number of other texts that relate to various aspects of the case:

On January 23, 2013, there was a text from Oscar to Reeva.
OP: I’m just in the physio baba

This pertains to Oscar needing therapy for an injured shoulder. This will be relevant to what side of the bed Oscar was sleeping on the night of the shooting.

Then another text message from Feb 11, 2013, there was another message about his shoulder.

OP: I’m not going, my shoulder is stuffed.

Roux also wants to show that Reeva had an interest in cars, along with Oscar. This is evidenced by her webpage browsing history.
They review a number of text messages between Oscar and Reeva discussing cars and sharing pictures. Extracted from Reeva’s emails, there was also content about motor vehicles.

I think this is important because when Nel was presenting the iPad evidence, one of the links that came up in Oscar’s browsing history had to do with cars. Oscar’s expression in the dock was very peculiar. Nel was very vague and Roux barely wanted to cross examine on this – his only question to the expert, Michael Sales, was whether or not he knew who was using the iPad at the time. Go back to my Day 13 blog to see the exchange I am referring to. I think we are going to hear more about this when Oscar is on the stand!

Some emails were also uncovered about Reeva looking at property and wanting to relocate.

They next look at CCTV footage from a local store taken on February 4, showing Oscar and Reeva together acting in a loving nature towards each other.

cctv of RS and OP in store

cctv of RS and OP in store 2

Then more flirty messages are read:

RS to OP: You are a very special person u deserve to be looked after

OP: Will you please let me know you are safe
RS: I’m home boo…

RS: Are you up and going boo?
RS: Good luck with everything today rock star
OP: My angel X
RS: Booooo X

OP: Can’t wait to see you. Would you like me to pick you up?
RS: I really can’t wait to see you boo.
RS: I would love that angel.

OP: Good luck for your meeting beautiful X
RS: Its just an appointment baba OK XX
RS: My angel, I just had a slice of fish, I’m not hungry, I’m falling asleep. Can’t wait to see you XX

RS: Can I wear my leopard dress boo? I wore it to two private functions only, nothing media related.
OP: I hope you enjoy tonight my angel, I’m thinking of you
OP: Yea, I love that and you look amazing in it.

OP: I’m going to turn in wish you were here. Please send me a message to let me know you’re safe.
RS: Ok angel, sweetest of dreams. I’ll message you when I get home XXX

OP: Good morning angel. I hope you slept well. Off to the gym X
RS: Good morning boo. I eventually did. Enjoy gym XXX

RS: Truth is I miss you
OP: I’m missing you so so much!!

RS: If you want to go chill with him that’s cool angel 
RS: I can come to you whenever
OP: No baba we want to chill with you, I miss you
RS: I miss you too bub

RS: Baby I love spending time with you and sleeping next to you. I just don’t ever want to cramp your style or not give you space if you need it. Promise me you will always let me know when you need some Oscar time.
OP: I love having you sleep next to me too baba. You never cramp my style. I have some work I need to get through tonight and have an early start. I promise baba and likewise XX

RS: I’m always on your side. I’m pro you and pro your career, but mostly pro us and the health of our relationship

RS: We are important to me

RS: Lots of hugs. I hope you have a super blessed day. I have said a small prayer for both of us XXX
OP: Thank you so much for being strong my angel. That message meant a lot to me. I am taking your advice. Just sent a host of emails and trying to take control of my admin. Miss you X

OP: Come visit me
RS: If I knew you were just chilling I would have gone to you hours ago

And now we are getting down to the last few days before the shooting.

February 11…

RS: Baby can I cook for you on Thursday? (this would have been Feb 14)
RS: What can you eat this week?
OP: I’d love that

OP: My angel, thinking of you XX
OP: I wish you were here cuddling me
OP: I miss you so
RS: I’m sorry I’m not there angel 
RS: I’ll be there in my heart and mind XXX

February 12…

RS: Seeee your woman told u that u looking good
OP: I’m missing her today, she makes my heart happy
RS: You make her everything happy

RS: I know Warren wanted to have coffee today so we could catch up and I can get my post, etc from him, but I can see him another day
OP: Yea I will baba, I have a dentist’s appt at 12:30. Maybe go see him and come through when you’re done. XXX
OP: I will do baba. The physio didn’t have needles so I’ll go back after the dentist.

February 13…

12:12pm
RS: Baba I hope you don’t mind but I came back to the house to work and do some washing. It will help me a lot to get stuff done and relieve some stress. I’ll go through to Jo’burg at like 3pm. XXX

13:10pm
RS: It’s a difficult thing to try to console you baba because it’s a shitty thing and you’re a nice guy. I guess these things happen and we can just hope they work out for the best. You are an amazing person with so many blessings and you are more than cared for. Your health and future monetary blessings far outweigh this hurdle I can promise you that 
OP: Thank you so much my angel you don’t have to. X Stay tonight if you would like.

15:21pm
OP: I’m just finishing off at Ryan(?)
RS: Thank you baba let me know if you’d like to spend time with him or Carl. I’m sure you maybe feel like some family tonight.

15:46
RS: Angel I’m going to go home at like 6pm. Please stay and do whatever it was you were gonna do

Some thoughts about February 13 and what was going on with these two. Oscar called Reeva around 1:02pm and they spoke for 4 minutes or so. She then sends the text message to him about trying to console him. Something obviously happened to him that day that he was upset about.

Then, she had GPRS activity from 13:07 to 13:40 with that last connection lasting for 2 hours. We don’t know who she was chatting/texting/communicating with during this GPRS session. Unfortunately, the records that Moller addressed in court for Oscar only started around 5pm that night, so I can’t match up his calls to hers from earlier in the day.

Around 3:30pm Oscar seems to be finishing up wherever he is. She suggests that he spend the night with family and then a little while after that states that she is going home around 6pm

The next call I can see is from Oscar who called her at 5:12pm and they talked for one minute. She was still at his house according to the tower. Remember she was planning to leave close to 6pm.

There was some GPRS activity after this, although no additional text messages were mentioned in testimony so not sure if there was any more text communication between the two.

Reeva then calls Oscar at 5:44pm and speaks to him for 2 and half minutes. Her phone is now pinging from a different tower which means she has left his home.

There are no more calls after this, only GPRS activity. Again, no text messages read in testimony so not sure if they are texting each other.

But she was seen coming back thru the Silver Woods security gate some time close to 6pm that night (seen by Baba and seen on CCTV pics) so something made her come back. Oscar arrived home approximately 10 minutes after her. It is not clear if he was expecting her or not based on their exchanges.

So this really has me thinking about how the evening started for them. She may have surprised him or maybe he convinced her to come back. We’ll have to wait and see.

Oscar says to her earlier in the day to stay tonight if she likes and her response was that she was going home at 6pm, please stay (where he was) and do whatever it was he was going to do.

Based on these messages, it sounds like she was not planning on spending the evening with him, sounds more like he wanted to spend it with her.

Yet, in his bail affidavit he stated that Reeva called him and suggested they have dinner at home and he agreed. Something is not matching up here.

Sooo… if there was some back and forth that night about whether or not she was going to stay, and he was already dealing with some bad news from earlier in the day, maybe things were tense. We saw a neatly packed bag on the sofa in his bedroom. And we saw jeans on the ground outside just below the bathroom window. Maybe he did throw those out the window in anger because she wanted to leave. No doubt these messages and times will be dug in to deeper during cross-examination with him.

Nel is back up and reminds the court that Moller has read all of the WhatsApp messages. We have just heard the Defense read a handful of loving messages but wants to know how many of the total messages are long messages saying how much they are in love with each other.

Moller’s response is that the majority of the communication is very short, one line messages. Boo, baby and angel were used a lot but there were no long messages discussing their relationship or how in love they were.

Nel also points out that in some of the exchanges that Roux had read, parts of the exchange were left out. They were not reading full conversations so it’s hard to get the full context of what each side meant with their responses.

Nel now wants to look at the long message where Reeva discusses her feelings (read in court yesterday) and brings to the court’s attention that after Reeva sent that email, Oscar responded back “baba”. So clearly that word baba was used quite frequently, whether mad or not. It doesn’t necessarily indicate love as Roux would like to show.

Moller is excused.

Next witness up is Warrant Officer Adriaan Maritz. He has 24 years of experience as a police officer.

Nel asks him if there is any record in the police system of Oscar having been a victim of crime. He answers no.

They then look at a map of the Silverlakes community. Nel wants to know the crime statistics for the last few years. The map shows January 2011 through April 2013.

map of silverlakes crime

diagram of local crime

Summary of incidents:
1 murder on Bushwillow
1 theft on Bushwillow
1 house robbery on Wildwood Way in 2011

Not exactly a neighborhood teeming with crime.

Roux gets up to cross-examine. He asks Maritz if his only source of crime information was the computer. Does he know about any crimes that have not been reported? He answers that he can only give crime information for what has been recorded in their system.

He also asks Maritz if he is aware that the police that arrived at Oscar’s on February 14, had just come from a house robbery elsewhere. Yes he is aware of that.

He also points out that just because someone may stay in a secured estate there is no guarantee that they will be secure against house robberies and other serious crime. Maritz agrees with this statement.

Roux then states that Mr. Pistorius has been a victim of crime on many occasions.

Nel counters and asks Maritz if Mr. Pistorius had reported these many crimes to police, would it have shown up in their system? Maritz answers that there is always the possibility that a name or ID number could be misspelled or typed in incorrectly, in which case they might not find it right away.

Nel then asks, if Mr. Pistorius gave you the date or other pertinent information about the crimes, could they find them that way, and Maritz says yes.

Maritz is excused.

Vermeulen (now known as bat man) is back on the stand as the last witness for the State. He was called back at the request of Roux.

Vermeulen explains that he came back to court on the morning of March 18, to look at the mark that the Defense wanted him to investigate. Vermeulen basically says he wasn’t shown specifically where this mark was and he didn’t see anything new that wasn’t there before. He states that nobody was there that morning to point out to him what they wanted done therefore he didn’t investigate anything new (much to the annoyance of the Defense).

He reiterates that when he did his investigation there were only two marks on the door that he could relate to the cricket bat, as stated in his affidavit.

The mark is then pointed out to Vermeulen by the Defense.

defense mark on door

Roux is now pressing him on why he didn’t spend more time trying to fit the cricket bat in to the other marks of the door. Vermeulen states that his job on this case was to determine if the cricket bat was used to break down the door so that is what he did. He identified the marks that would have broken the door.

Roux wants to know if the pictures that were taken during Vermeulen’s investigation show him trying to match the bat up to the mark in question, and Vermeulen states that there are not pictures of that.

Roux shows him pictures that illustrate he did actually try to fit the bat in to the additional mark that they are asking about. Vermeulen says he has not looked at his photos since his last testimony. After viewing them he says he honestly forgot about them but would still like to maintain that he could not match the bat with that mark.

defense mark on door 3

defense mark on door 2

The reason why this is important is because the State’s position is that Oscar was on his stumps when he hit the door with the bat, the Defense says he was on his prosthetics. This mark is higher up so both sides want their interpretation of it to be correct.

Roux is “putting it” to Vermeulen that the State specifically tried to hide these photos by not putting them in their album. Vermeulen’s position is that he went in to this investigation with no idea that the height of the person was of concern. He investigated with an open mind and this is what he found.

Vermeulen is excused.

Nel concludes “this is the State’s case”

Roux requests two days adjournment to prepare his witnesses. Court will resume on Friday.

UPDATE: The trial has been postponed due to one of the assessors falling ill. The trial will resume on Monday, April 7.

Oscar Trial – Day 8, March 12 FRESCO, VERMEULEN

Darren Fresco is back on the stand. Nel has more questions for him.

When they were driving to the Vaal River, where did Oscar keep his gun? Darren said between his legs on the seat, no holster.
Nel also wants to know if Oscar ever asked Darren to slow down during that trip. Darren states no, he didn’t. He never complained about the speed.

Then he asks Darren if he had taken any pictures of a speedometer that day and Darren says he took a picture of the speedometer when Oscar was driving to the Vaal. He was driving very fast, over the 250kph mark (150mph).

As for the tickets that they received from the police that day, did Oscar offer to pay? He said no.

In Tasha’s Restaurant, why did you pass your gun to accused?
Darren says because Oscar asked to see it. There would have been no other reason to give it to him. And the gun did not fall out of his shorts. He only told that story to cover for Oscar.

He was then asked if he had any contact with Samantha Taylor since the shooting on February 14, 2013. He states that he has not seen her since that date up until two days ago when he saw her in the witness room.

Roux is up. He presents to the court a photograph of the speedometer that was taken at 16:41 (4:41pm) on the day of the Vaal trip and it’s a picture that Darren took of the speedometer while he was driving on the way home. He texted this picture to Oscar. Therefore, he states that Darren was lying when he said that Oscar was driving 150mph, it was actually Darren and he photographed himself doing that speed. Darren basically just says that he doesn’t remember that but if they have a picture then ok.

Darren is excused.

The next witness up is Lt Colonel Vermeulen. His career in forensics started in 1992.

Vermeulen was sent to Oscar’s house to investigate on March 8, 2013, along with other experts. He was specifically requested to perform testing on the cricket bat and the toilet room door. He also was asked if he could ascertain the cause of the bending of the metal plate on the outside of the bathtub.

When they arrived at Oscar’s house the door was not in the frame. The door was brought to the scene by one of the investigators and they attached it back to the doorframe and glued the broken out panels in to place.

Vermeulen wants to clarify that on March 8th, his purpose for being there was to accustom himself to the scene. He did not do his own testing at the scene. He did it at a later time in the laboratory.

On April 26, 2013, he received the metal plate from the bathroom tub and the cricket bat (both in sealed packages) from the forensics laboratory. He examined the metal plate first. His conclusion was that the plate became bent as a result of either being hit or something falling on it. It had to be a hard enough object to cause a scratch in the metal. The scratch was in a vertical direction. They were never able to ascertain the object that hit it.

silver-plate-in-bathroom

Vermeulen also had an opportunity to do testing on the door at the laboratory along with the cricket bat.

door at laboratory

This image shows one of the cricket bat strikes that hit the outside frame of the door – the white marker is directly to the right of the mark

door with white marker

The next images show how the bat hit that mark

bat hitting the first spot

The marks are located 1400-1530mm (approximately 5 feet) up from the ground. The investigation revealed that the cricket bat made a definitive match with the dent in the door.

Vermeulen first demonstrates where the bat hit while standing. Looking at that image, you can see how he would most likely have to crouch to hit that spot. So he then demonstrates what it looks like to hit that spot from his knees (simulating being on stumps) and it was a very natural swing that hit that spot.

Vermeulen does not believe that Oscar was wearing prosthetics when he used the bat. He believes he was on stumps. In Oscar’s testimony he states that after he shot Reeva (from his stumps) that he put on his prosthetics before he broke the door with the cricket bat. This is inconsistent with what the investigator is concluding.

The next bat strike was right next to the other one but landed right on the edge of the door panel, and went thru the door. There are marks and coloration on the bat that support the bat went thru the door at that location. The bat was then twisted back and forth while in the door to break out the panel.

bat hitting second spot

close up of second bat strike

another close up of bat strike

Roux cross-examines. He wants to know if Vermeulen is a certified tool mark examiner. He states no, but the technique that he used was that of a physical match which is very similar to a tool mark examination.

Roux asks him if he is of the opinion that Oscar was on his stumps at the time of the bullets being shot and Vermeulen testifies, yes, that he was there when ballistics tests were done, and he agrees that Oscar was on his stumps at the time of the shooting.

Roux going back to the cricket bat again asks Vermeulen to get on his knees and lift his feet while he swings the bat and while Vermeulen does this, he is off balance. Roux wants to demonstrate that it would be difficult for Oscar to swing that bat while on stumps as he would not be able to adequately keep himself upright.

Vermeulen counters that if he had enough balance to fire a gun while on stumps then he would likely have enough balance to hit the door with the bat on stumps.

They now review the forensic evidence collection and storage procedures. The rubber handle that was originally on the cricket bat is not on the bat in court, and Roux wants to know where it is. Vermeulen cannot testify to that. He received it from the laboratory without the rubber handle. He believes it was removed to be finger printed.

It was then revealed that the investigator who had custody of the door from the date of the crime up until March 8 (when they brought it back to the scene) kept the door in his office. It was not properly wrapped for storage. Roux states that he has compared the door to the photos from the crime scene and there are now new marks on the door and he wants to identify where they came from.

Vermeulen did not compare the door to crime scene photos when he examined and tested it. It is then pointed out by Roux that pieces of the door are missing and Vermeulen testifies that most likely pieces were left behind at the crime scene. Vermeulen states he wasn’t there at the crime scene when the door was collected so he cannot explain why pieces are missing. Roux wants to know if he ever asked anybody for the missing pieces and Vermeulen did not.

It sure does seem like the handling of this door was not done well by the investigators and Roux is doing an excellent job at attacking their work.

Roux now disputes that Oscar had to be on his stumps at the time of swinging the bat. Again, this point is important because Oscar’s statement says he was on his prosthetics. He has Vermeulen try out a few different stances so they can achieve the same mark on the door.

Roux positioning for bat strike

Vermeulen states that he’s in an unnatural position when he hits it. He does not think that somebody would stand like this. Roux says it may be uncomfortable for him but perhaps it wasn’t an uncomfortable stance for Oscar.

Roux asks Vermeulen, “when was the door hit with the cricket bat, before or after the gunshots?”

Vermeulen answers, “after the shots, or at least some part of it broke after the shots.” He came to this conclusion because one of the broken pieces of the door panel had a crack straight through a bullet hole. The way the crack ran through the hole would make it impossible for the shot to go through after.

Roux now points out another mark on the door that is not a bullet shot or a cricket bat strike and he wants to know if they investigated it to see what caused it.

Vermeulen says they noticed it but they did not investigate it. He was only asked to investigate the cricket bat marks.

Vermeulen suggests that Oscar may have stepped on that panel when he was pulling Reeva out of the toilet room and moving through the bathroom.

Roux states that they tested the wood and there are fibers from Oscar’s sock embedded in that wood. There is also door varnish on the prosthesis. He believes this will prove that Oscar used his prosthetics to try to knock the door down (prior to the cricket bat) as he stated in his affidavit.

Vermeulen states again that it may be possible that there are traces of prosthetic on the door but he cannot prove when that would have happened in relation to all of the events.

Roux seems pretty ticked that the police did not investigate the possibility that the prosthetic caused this mark, but Vermeulen states that his responsibility was to investigate the cricket bat. He had not reviewed Oscar’s statement prior to any testing so he did not know that Oscar claimed to use his prosthetic leg to kick in the door.

I will say, just because the accused gives a statement, the police are not obligated to try to make his statement fit the crime scene. Their job is to investigate the crime scene to see what the evidence tells them. Not what the accused tells them. If the defense wants to introduce this theory, they need to do their own testing and bring it to trial, which they have done. I do get though why Roux is criticizing Vermeulen for this. It’s a good tactic for a jury trial. Jurors would likely think that is poor police work. But in this case, the Judge is deciding the verdict so I would think this particular argument is falling on deaf ears. She understands how investigators do their work.

Back to the handling of the door again. Roux is really hammering this home. There are pieces that are missing from it while it is here in court today that were not missing before.. Roux would like to know what happened to those pieces. Also, there are pretty distinct marks just to the left of the door handle that were not on there on March 8. Vermeulen is really stumbling here. He can’t answer these questions. On these points, he is making the police work very sloppy. It’s unfortunate because this door is such an important piece of the story.

He will be back on the stand tomorrow. NOTE: the ballistics evidence for the four bullet holes that are seen in the door has not been introduced at trial yet.

door 2

Below is a replica of the toilet room as seen in court

door 3