Businessman Jason Rohde is expected to learn his fate on Wednesday when Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe sentences him for the murder of his wife Susan.
During closing arguments last week, the State asked the court to impose more than the prescribed minimum of 15 years in jail for the murder, saying he betrayed his wife’s trust and killed her in a violent and cold-blooded manner.
Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk proposed that the court impose a sentence of between 18 and 20 years for the murder.
On November 8, 2018, Salie-Hlophe found Rohde guilty of murdering Susan at the Spier hotel in July 2016. The court also found him guilty of obstructing the ends of justice after it was found that he staged Susan’s suicide.
In her judgment, the judge said Rohde “staged her death as a play” and roped in various “actors” and “extras” to tell a story that she had committed suicide.
The State argued that the only sentencing factors in Rohde’s favour were that he had no previous convictions and would not commit a similar crime again.
However, the State did not believe Rohde was a good candidate for rehabilitation because he planned to appeal. Salie-Hlophe disagreed with the prosecutor on this point.
Defence lawyer Graham van der Spuy said his client maintained his innocence.
“I can only describe this as a moment of weakness or madness in which he simply snapped,” he said, calling it a crime of passion.
Rohde is in custody.