WATCH: Rohde’s icy reaction as he is sentenced
Yours is a 'story of malignant love', judge tells former property empire CEO, who merely blinked as she sentenced him
The only hint of wife killer Jason Rohde’s former life as the high-flying chief executive of a property empire, was the smart suit he wore during his sentencing in the Cape Town High Court on Wednesday.
The 50-year-old wife killer stared straight ahead as Judge Gaayat Salie-Hlophe read out the harrowing details of his wife’s death. Salie-Hlophe said “the aggravating features of the murder in respect of which you had been convicted” called for a harsher sentence – more than the prescribed 15-year prison sentence.
The court convicted Rohde of murdering his wife, Susan, at Spier wine estate in Stellenbosch in July 2016. Rohde had attended a work conference and shared a room with his wife.
The last 11 months of the couple’s 22-year marriage was in turmoil after Susan discovered Rohde’s extramarital affair with a colleague. Susan was found dead with an hair iron cord around her neck behind a locked bathroom door.
“The murder of your wife was callous, brutal and shocking,” Salie-Hlophe told Rohde, who did not flinch as she said this.
“Susan died a painful and gruesome death,” the judge added.
“She did not die instantly; it took her a while to die. She suffered in the last moments of her life, eventually succumbing to her death. The degree of violence which you meted out at your wife was egregious, excessive and exhibits horrifying aggression. You executed successive blows and fatal force in the taking of her life and completely disregarded her bodily integrity. It is a significant feature of this crime that you did not hesitate in the commission thereof, for you did not call for medical assistance. Instead you left her to die.”
Salie-Hlophe slapped the former Lew Geffen/Sotheby’s chief executive with an 18-year prison sentence for murder and five years for defeating the ends of justice. Three years of the five-year sentence will run concurrently with the murder sentence. He blinked as she sentenced him, not showing any emotion.
The judge also described Rohde as selfish. The couple has three children.
“In the course of murdering your wife and setting the scene that she had taken her own life, no other interests, desires and care mattered than that of your own. You did not just take her life, you completely disregarded the sanctity thereof and what her life meant to herself and to those who loved her and whom she loved, most of all your own daughters,” said Salie-Hlophe.
“Susan would have looked to you as her husband and the father of her children for protection and security. Her guard and defences would have been down, being in the sanctity of your private space and in the comfort of her husband.”
As Rohde was handcuffed and whisked away to start his sentence, his counsel, Graham van der Spuy, said: “We have already received instructions to apply for leave to appeal.”