‘Modimolle Monster’ refuses to plead
Pretoria - The so-called Modimolle Monster, Johan Kotze, on Monday refused to plead to the charges against him after a High Court Judge in Pretoria turned down his application for a postponement.
Acting Judge Bert Bam noted a plea of not guilty on seven charges, ranging from murder to rape and attempted murder, on Kotze's behalf.
Kotze's three co-accused, Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlane and Frans Mphaka, all pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
All of them claimed Kotze had forced them to take part in the crimes.
The State alleges that in January the four murdered 19-year-old Conrad Bonette, and kidnapped, gang raped, sexually assaulted and attempted to murder Kotze's estranged wife, Ina Bonette.
Conrad was Ina Bonette's son from a previous marriage.
The State alleges Kotze had planned to humiliate and harm his wife by kidnapping, torturing and raping her, murdering her son and having her raped by his three co-accused.
The accused allegedly prepared the room and equipment for the kidnapping and torture, had a rifle and towel ready, and ensured his three co-accused would not be recognised by having them put pantyhose over their heads.
The three were allegedly already hiding in the prepared room when Ina Bonette arrived.
She was overpowered, smothered with a towel, thrown on the bed, gagged and tied to the bed and burglar bars.
Kotze allegedly took her phone to lure her son to the house, and also took her car keys to ensure that she could not escape.
She was sexually violated, assaulted and severely tortured to the point where she almost died.
Kotze allegedly shot Conrad to death with a .22 rifle when he entered the house. The young student died at the scene of gunshot wounds to the mouth and chest.
Kotze's advocate, Bernard Bantjes, on Monday applied for a postponement for further psychological and medical tests, which he said could have a bearing on Kotze's accountability for the alleged crimes and his ability to understand the proceedings.
He said the defence was aware of at least three medical conditions which might have had an effect on his client's psychological state, but for which tests had not been carried out.
Bantjes added that Kotze was not capable of entering a plea because of the uncertainty surrounding his accountability.
The State objected and handed in a report by three psychiatrists, who unanimously found that Kotze did not suffer from any psychiatric illness and was fit to stand trial.
Bam said Bantjes' application was based on mere speculation and it would not be in the interest of justice to postpone the trial.
If there was a problem with his accountability, it could be addressed during the course of the trial, he said.
Conrad Bonette's university friend, Marthinus Cloete, testified that he and Conrad were at the gym on the day he was killed, when Conrad received a call from Kotze, who wanted him to come to his house to discuss something.
Kotze shook their hands when they arrived at his house, asked if they wanted to help him pack and sent Cloete to the garage to fetch something.
When Cloete returned to the house he realised Kotze's car was gone. He decided to wait. He then called out, but received no answer.
He only discovered Conrad's bloodied body in a room after a friend, Vivienne van der Merwe, arrived and told him to search the rooms.
He and Van der Merwe also found Ina Bonette in a bloodied and shocked state, tied to the burglar bars in another bedroom.
The trial continues. - Sapa