Technical evidence fingers Jeppestown accused

Three forms of technical evidence submitted to the Johannesburg High Court on Wednesday fingered some of the accused in the Jeppestown “massacre”.

Two of them were linked through fingerprints to cars parked at the scene of the crime.

DNA samples from clothes were linked to the blood of another accused, while an analysis of gunshot primer residue connected more than one of the accused to the shooting.

Thirteen people are on trial for the death of 12 people, including four police officers, in Jeppestown after a supermarket robbery in June 2006.

They are facing charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to rob, murder and attempted murder.

Fingerprint expert Captain Nelson Rathumbu testified that the fingerprints he obtained from a red Honda Ballade that was parked at the scene of the crime matched those of accused number eight, Mzulelwa Vezi.

Rathumbu said he also obtained another set of fingerprints from a blue Ford Escort.

When he compared them they matched those of accused number seven, Sihle Mdunge. A palm print obtained from the Ford also matched that of Mdunge.

Earlier, the court heard that forensic expert Michelle Thompson had taken DNA samples from clothes found in the cars.

She told the court that a jacket and a blue cap were linked to the blood of one of the accused.

Thompson testified that she did not find any DNA samples from some of the things that were also on the scene—a cellphone voucher card, tissue paper and zambuk cream.

A forensic expert who tested samples for primer residue, Superintendent Leoni Sevenster, said the accused who tested positive for gunshot primer residue either discharged a firearm or were within 2m from where it was discharged on the day of the incident.

The defence argued that their clients never touched firearms or fired any shots on the day in question. They were, however, in a house where firearms had been fired.

One of the accused is said to have been hiding under a table when the shooting took place.

“Accused number four, Sizwe Mbuyazi, will tell this court that on the day in question he never touched any firearm or fired any shots but he was in a house when firearms were fired,” his attorney said.

Mbuyazi is one of the accused who tested positive for the powder.

Sevenster responded to the comment and said it was possible for a person who was within 2m of the spot where a firearm was fired to test positive for primer residue.

The trial will continue on Thursday morning. Rathumbu is expected to finish his testimony.—Sapa

Client Media Releases

Times Higher Education ranks NWU 5th in SA
UKZN confers honorary doctorate on former public protector
ContinuitySA's Willem Olivier scoops BCI award