CAPE TOWN, August 7 – A forensic pathologist testified in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday that the wife of international property mogul and murder accused Jason Rohde had hanged herself behind the bathroom door on the morning of her death in mid 2016.
Jason Rohde, the former CEO of Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s International Realty, is accused of the murder of his wife Susan, with the State arguing that he had killed her in the room they shared at a company convention at the Spier Wine Estate on 24 July 2016.
On Tuesday, Rohde’s defence forensic pathologist Dr Izak Loftus told the court that it was his opinion that Susan Rohde had hanged herself behind the bathroom door on the morning of her death.
Loftus was asked by defence Advocate Graham Van der Spuy to tell the court his “opinion regarding the death of the late Mrs Rohde”.
“My lady, I believe that and I am saying it from a position of after taking everything to account, I believe that beyond a reasonable doubt, the deceased, on that morning hanged herself in the bathroom. She didn’t die instantaneously, she was rescued if I may put it that way or she was taken off from the ligature and she was unsuccessfully resuscitated,” said Loftus.
Susan’s body was found hanging by her neck by an electrical cord from a hook behind the bathroom door in the couple’s room. Dr Loftus added that the cause of death was due to the ligature exerting its effect to the neck when she hanged herself.
“That is the process of dying. And unfortunately, she most probably, like in many of these cases, one can say that the CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) was unsuccessful because it was beyond the point of return in that process of dying and which is not an event.”
Dr Loftus further added that he was “quite comfortable, from a scientific and objective point of view to state to the court that it’s my opinion that that is an antemortem mark”.
He said it was important for him not to be seen by the court as hired, but that he was there to assist the court to try and be as objective as possible and try to bring science and law together and that is why he was a forensic pathologist.
“So, I will acknowledge that there is always a chance of one percent, two percent or whatever, that it may be something else, but for me, as I’m standing here, I believe, as I have said before, that beyond reasonable doubt, the scenario that I have given to the court, yesterday specifically again adding there that I now believe that she died there where the body was, on the floor. That is my opinion,” he said.
Rohde, who has admitted to an extramarital affair which led to tensions and confrontations with his wife, including at the conference, pleaded not guilty to killing her and staging her suicide.
The court was adjourned until Wednesday.
– African News Agency (ANA)