Man opens his heart about brother who allegedly slaughtered family

Henry

What exactly led to the triple murder in Rondebult in the early hours of New Year’s Day has been a great mystery until now. However, the tragedy shook people of law across the country after the deceased couple’s son, Eugene Botha, was arrested for their gruesome murder – as well as the murder of his sister.

When Jaco Botha (48) from Roodepoort received the disturbing call from his aunt on 2 January – around 22:00 in the evening – that his parents and sister had been brutally assaulted and murdered in their home, he was outraged and furious.

When he found out that his younger brother was suspected of their gruesome murder, every thought of his brother was filled with hatred, Jaco tells RNews.

The decomposed bodies of the 73-year-old Johan and his 70-year-old wife, Marri (also known as Riekie), and their daughter, Soné (37), were found approximately two days after their murder on an abandoned bakkie in a field a few meters from found the family’s house in Rondebult.

Residents made the gruesome discovery on the corner of Swartberg and Ubombo Streets and 42-year-old Eugene was arrested shortly afterwards in connection with the murders. He has not yet been able to apply for bail and the case was adjourned for three months last week.

“My parents are an easy target. They are already old and my father has an artificial leg. There were also incidents where he was harsh with my father. But I never thought that he would kill them…

“When I got that call… it was the most angry anger and the most anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was gasping for breath, I could barely get any words out. When my wife asked me what was going on, I didn’t know how to say it.

“Eugene killed them, my younger brother killed my mother, father and sister…”

Jaco says that although Eugene was a drug user in his twenties, and although they recently found marijuana seeds in his room, he does not believe that his younger brother used drugs in the last few months before his family’s gruesome murder.

“In any case, we cannot link drugs to these murders, because I know exactly why he did it…”

Jaco tells that Marri finally kicked Eugene out of the house on New Year’s Day.

“He has been living with my parents all his life without working. My parents – both pensioners – had to take care of him. He also treated them very badly and my mother strongly told me not to get involved because then he would take all his anger out on them.

“She finally chased him out of the house on the last Sunday last year.”

Eugene later admitted to a family member that he then returned to the house at around 01:00 on New Year’s Day, where he wiped out members of his family.

“According to his own words, he beat my mother to death with a hammer. She was still awake.

“After that he woke up my sister – who was still sleeping – to show her what he had done to her mother. After which he also hit her in the face with a hammer. When she was lying on the ground, he fetched a knife and stabbed her in the throat. Their mutilated bodies are something I will never be able to get out of my head. There was blood spatter all over my mother’s study as he hit them. Then he waited for my father to wake up as well, after which he shot him dead with his own pistol.”

The evidence collected by the police in the meantime supports what Eugene seems to have told family members.

“I lost my whole family… I not only lost my parents and my sister, I also lost my brother.”

‘Normal Childhood’

Jaco tells that they grew up in an ordinary house in Secunda. However, they moved around a lot as young children. The family later moved to KwaZulu-Natal, Eugene was about 11 years old when they went to live in Rondebult.

“I was the oldest and the naughtiest and got the most beatings,” jokes Jaco.

“Eugene is the middle child and Soné was already diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism) at a very young age. She was incredibly artistic and because she was a little different from Eugene and me, she required a lot more attention from our parents.

“Eugene was a good child, he and I – as brothers are – often had arguments, but it was always about childish things, never anything serious,” says Jaco.

“I would like to remember my brother as the boy in the photos that hang in the hallways of my parents’ house… but now I only see their badly injured and lifeless bodies when I think of him…”

Jaco says that Eugene’s trouble actually only started when he (Jaco) was already out of the house. Eugene was 16 years old at the time.

“Eugene got involved with the wrong people and was a drug user for a long time. During this time there were also frequent break-ins at my parents’ house, we only found out much later that Eugene and a friend were behind the break-ins – presumably for drug money.

“Eugene was also later caught with a forged check in Bloemfontein after which he had to sit behind bars for a year and a half. We tried to help him finish his matric during his imprisonment, but he only completed a quarter of his studies before giving up. I don’t know if he might have some kind of psychological problem, but he just never wanted to see things through.”

Jaco tells that Eugene also had a mild stroke due to his drug abuse.

“The left side of his body sustained damage due to the stroke. His left arm curled inward and his toes curled under his foot, so he now walks on his toes, which is actually very painful for him.”

However, he could still lead a normal life. He could drive a car and ride a motorcycle and my uncle trained him as an electrician – but nothing ever came of it.

Later, his parents took out a mortgage on their house to send him to England, but he was only there for six months. “We suspect that he was deported, but he never wanted to talk about it.”

Jaco has yet to attend any of his brother’s court appearances. He says he doesn’t want to see his brother.

“I will look him in the eye again when I stand in the witness stand, but beyond that I don’t want to hear anything from him.

“It’s going to sound harsh, but I hope that he stays behind bars for the rest of his life for what he did to my parents and sister, for his own good as well, because the Rondebult community said that if he returns home, they kill him.”