The four men accused of the rape and murder of Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius seemed more concerned about wooing their lovers in court than the 10 charges they face.
Geraldo Parsons smiled and blew kisses to his girlfriend after he heard that the case was postponed, yet again, to January 25. He was standing in the dock at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court with Vernon Witbooi, Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius.
Dressed in hoodies and wearing rusty prison chains, the men seemed more at ease than the heavily armed police observing the proceedings.
They have been accused of raping and murdering the 21-year-old after they hijacked and kidnapped her and her friend, Cheslin Marsh, in the early hours of May 27.
Marsh was stabbed and struck with a brick but managed to find help after he was left for dead in Kraaifontein, 15km west of Stellenbosch. Cornelius’s head was crushed by a rock after she was stabbed several times.
The accused are thought to have played different roles in the crimes. They are also accused of attacking two other women later that morning using Cornelius’s blue Citi Golf.
Parsons, Witbooi and Van Niekerk, dressed in a Maties hoodie, appeared unperturbed as the media were allowed to take pictures of them for the first time.
During previous court appearances the girlfriends often sat together and exchanged smiles with their men.
On Wednesday Parsons’ girlfriend said she and “her man” had an eight-year-old daughter who would be getting a Barbie for Christmas, and an 11-year-old son who liked cars.
“I would get a stroke if he pleads guilty,” said the woman.
They even have matching tattoos behind their left ear – a coincidence, she claimed.
As the men were herded into the prison truck they were met by girlfriends and family.
Parsons gave his girlfriend a toothless smile and asked his “liefie” to bring him shoes the next time she visited.
As the truck left he shouted her name with his face pressed against the grid-iron window. “I love you Geraldo!” she screamed.