In fairness to the prosecutor, he does challenge Miller’s version during cross-examination. Watch that moment here, transcript below.
VAN NIEKERK: The tone of voice of the late Susan Rohde, you said in your evidence this morning, ‘she was calm’.
MILLER: Correct. It wasn’t screaming or screeching or…
VAN NIEKERK: But…we’ve also heard the evidence from Miss Ameermia that she was agitated. Could that have been correct…?
MILLER: Could be.
Now although the prosecutor highlights – rightly – the “calm” comment from Miller, he seems to go down the wrong tangent. Isn’t it less likely that Susan would commit suicide if she was calm than if she was agitated or worse, overwrought?
Isn’t it less likely that if Susan was calm inside the hotel room, in other words, able to control herself in front of others, that she wouldn’t be able to control herself in private?
For me the observation that Susan was calm is something you’d want to reinforce, not undermine, and yet Van Niekerk does this by referring to how many drinks Miller drank and how his recollection might not be accurate.
There is so much to mine from a firsthand encounter with someone who dies shortly after, and yet all we get from this is that she wore a bathrobe, and according to Miller, approached Jason coming “halfway” down the hall.
Farrah Ameermia was another eyewitness in Miller’s hotel room that night. She’s an attractive woman, so is Alterskye. Some of the head honchos have gathered together in the room very late at night, along with their office colleagues, very attractive women. Was this all polite, innocent fun, all round? All work, no play?
In any event, this is the version Farrah Ameermia’s gave the court in April 2018:
AMEERMIA: [Susan] called [Jason’s] name repeatedly. She was agitated; then she walked into the room‚ took him by the arm. The two left and after a while we heard a commotion outside. It seemed the two were having an argument.
What we have in this version is Susan holding herself back in terms of what she says to Jason. Jason is obstinate. He refuses to leave. Susan then walks right up to Jason, take his arm and basically makes it clear that she’s not going to let him remain in the room. And so, his hand forced, Jason leaves.
As soon as they’re out of sight, there’s an audible commotion. Jason won’t argue in front of his employees, and expects his wife, like his employees, to allow him to do as he pleases. But she won’t. And so, when forced by her to deal with him directly, he does.
Ameermia also provides further insight into Jason’s conduct in her police statement:
AMEERMIA: The door opened and it was Jason Rohde‚ quite drunk‚ entering the room. He sat on the end of the first single bed with his arms crossed. Sue Rohde‚ Jason’s wife‚ opened the door and started calling his name. She sounded agitated and wanted him to get out of the room. Jason refused and shook his head.
Susan running after Jason and Jason refusing – initially – to return to their hotel room paints a very clear scenario:
- Rather than being defeated or depressed, Susan is activated, fighting, fighting for her husband, fighting for her family.
- Susan isn’t afraid to confront Jason, but she’s still controlled enough to do so politely, inhibiting herself, and not shouting at him and making a spectacle.
- Jason, clearly, doesn’t want to be bossed around, doesn’t wish to be controlled, but in this situation he is forced to abide by his wife.
- If Jason is angry he doesn’t show it [he has his arms folded].
- What is more likely – that Jason, wanting to party and leave his wife in the lurch down the hall, and being denied this by his wife, kills her, perhaps while intoxicated, or that Jason willingly leaves the party and in the room makes a reasonable case that the two get divorced, his wife accepts this, goes to sleep and then quietly [leaving no note], kills herself, also careful not to wake him while she does so?
The best predictor of behavior is past behavior, and the most recent behavior we see here is Jason not wishing to acknowledge his wife. She calls his name and he refuses to move, refuses to answer. He’s immovable, despite her emotional pleas.
In her statement Ameermia claims she heard Jason and Susan arguing for 25 minutes. And yet Miller claims he didn’t hear “screaming” or “screeching”. Didn’t he? Not even loud voices?
AMEERMIA: Then the arguing stopped‚ and we all mentioned how intense it was and we all went to bed. I went to my room‚ I presume Jolene went back to hers…
This doesn’t sound like Susan was calm, but more importantly, it doesn’t sound like Jason was calm either. What’s important here is Jolene Alterskye, the mistress. Susan was trying to get Jason away from her, and succeeded. In this, she would have been calmer and more in control.
On the other hand, if Alterskye was the cause of the divorce, and the divorce was finalised that night in a civilized, reasonmable conversation, then theoretically Jason could have left his room and begun his new lease on life right then and there – with Jolene.
Perhaps he wanted to, but clearly, Susan was at the Spier hotel to physically restrain her husband, to physically hold onto him. We don’t know what Jason felt by being denied his guilty pleasure with Alterskye, but we know simply being apart from his mistress in general, let alone late at night after a few drinks, made him mad with frustration:
“All I can think of is you. I want to scream with frustration. I don’t want anything more in my life than to be with you.”
We know that on July 23rd, the day before Susan died, Jason and Jolene left the following messages:
Alterskye 10:02: “My penguin forever.”
Jason 10:47.36: “I absolutely hate it. I just want it to end.”
Jason 10:49: “Having you close is driving me crazy. Sue is driving me nuts!!!!! She follows me around like a f***ing shadow.”
Look at those words, and consider them in the context of murder as opposed to suicide:
my penguin forever
want it to end
you close driving me crazy
[Sue] a fucking shadow