Family that ‘slays’ together, doesn’t always stay together
A family that allegedly killed their electrician are blaming each other for the murder, but evidence doesn't lie
A day after allegedly murdering an elderly electrician and shoving his body into a freezer, Chantell Russouw bought a bottle of Captain Morgan Rum, had her eyebrow pierced and took to Facebook to write: “Awesome Times.”
But the awesome times soon soured when Chantell’s brother Wayne, who is also accused of the murder of Petrus Scholtz, 70, threatened to kill her if she went to the police, going as far as strangling her to make his point.
These astounding claims were made in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday when Wayne, 31 and co-accused Ronald Swartz, 24, applied for bail.The other accused are Christine Russouw, 51, Chantell, 35, and Wayne’s mother.
Chantell and Christine have abandoned their bail applications.
An affidavit before court – from the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Shane Bosch – painted a picture of a deeply fractured family who were all willing to throw each other under the bus to get away with their crime.
It also alleged that Wayne was a bald-faced liar who made up stories about owning a business, having an income and a fiancée, in a bid to get bail.
According to the affidavit, when police knocked on the door of the Russouws’ Kabega Park home to interrogate them, Christine and Chantelle helped Wayne hide in the ceiling.
What they did not realise, the affidavit stated, was that the officers had a good view through the window and watched Wayne’s ascent into the ceiling, where they caught him, surrounded by some of Scholtz’s stolen tools.According to the state, on July 12, five days before Scholtz’s murder, Wayne made enquiries about where he could get a firearm.“[Wayne] indicated he wanted to take someone out that owed the family money,” Bosch said in his affidavit.
On Monday, July 16 Wayne took an Uber to Central to collect Swartz. The men were then dropped off at the family’s Woltemade Street home where they met up with Christine and Chantell.
It was then that the plan was hatched to kill Scholtz “in order to steal his tools”.
Scholtz arrived later that night to fix a problem with the geyser, and then left.
The following day Wayne allegedly called Scholtz to return to the house to collect his call-out fee.
According to the state all four of the accused plotted to kill Scholtz, with Wayne promising Swartz R10,000 to assist in the murder.
When Scholtz arrived shortly after 8pm he was lured to the kitchen where Swartz allegedly attacked him from behind and held him down, while Wayne beat him unconscious with a baton.
After Wayne tied Scholtz’s hands and feet together he and Swartz put the body in a chest freezer.
Christine then allegedly cleaned the kitchen floor “which was covered in blood”.
Later that evening Wayne and Chantell are believed to have driven to McDonald’s to buy food with money taken from Scholtz’s wallet.
The following day Wayne and Chantell went to Cash Crusaders at Metlife Plaza where Chantell is said to have sold some of Scholtz’s tools for R3,000, claiming she was the rightful owner of the items.
Later that day Chantell had her eyebrow pierced and bought the bottle of Captain Morgan Rum.
At around midnight, says the state, Wayne and Swartz took Scholtz’s body from the freezer and put it on the back of Scholtz’s bakkie.
The pair, accompanied by Chantell, then allegedly drove to Fairview and dumped Scholtz’s body in a bushy area near Willow Road.By Thursday, July 19 Scholtz’s body had been discovered while Wayne allegedly cleaned the freezer in which the body had been kept.
That same day Wayne and Christine allegedly sold Scholtz’s bakkie to Clint’s Auto Spares for R5,000 with the proviso that if they could furnish the buyer with the vehicle’s documents they would receive a further R5,000.
The state says that after their arrest Chantell gave a statement to police detailing her involvement in the murder, adding that she feared for her life as Wayne had threatened to kill her should she go to the police.
In his affidavit Wayne denied any involvement in the murder, placing the blame on his mother, sister and friend, Swartz.
He claimed to be the owner of a tow truck company and the financial provider for his son. Both claims were rubbished by prosecutor Marius Stander.“[Wayne] knows nothing about the murder, he still climbs into the ceiling – that is not normal conduct.
“The evidence is overwhelming. [Wayne] is implicated by [Swartz] and his other co-accused,” Stander said.
Wayne’s defence advocate Mxolisi Moolman asked the court to consider exceptional circumstances in granting him bail.
These included him being the financial provider for his son and his business suffering.
Swartz’s Legal Aid attorney, Thembelani Pityana, told the court his client was fearful and had been forced to be part of the crime – something he claimed were exceptional circumstances.
Stander hit back and told magistrate Thuli Betela that both men had a propensity to clash with the law, as evident in a list of previous convictions against Swartz and pending cases against Wayne.
The matter was postponed for judgment on the bail application until September 11. - The Herald