“It is fair to say that primer residue is easily removed,” said Lt-Col Thandiwe Mlabateki, of the police’s forensic science laboratory in Pretoria.
She was testifying before Northern Cape Judge President Frans Kgomo in the teenager’s trial.
He is accused of shooting and killing Northern Cape farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their daughter Marthella, 14. He also faces a charge of raping Marthella Steenkamp and of defeating the ends of justice.
Mlabateki confirmed that residue could be removed by washing one’s hands.
Prosecutor Hannes Cloete submitted that it was not in dispute that the boy had washed his hands twice before tests were done. Earlier, the boy’s legal counsel handed in a list of admissions that would not be disputed.
These include the negative test for residue on the youth’s hands, a negative test on a pair of the boy’s tracksuit pants, and positive tests on two of his T-shirts: one on the front and the other on the front and the back.
On Monday, the court heard that the way in which Marthella Steenkamp was murdered seemed like “overkill”.
“I see a lot of violent injuries… an overkill in my opinion,” testified pathologist Lemaine Fouche of the Northern Cape health department.
Fouche testified about four gunshot wounds the Steenkamp daughter sustained: one in the chest and three in the head. There was an entrance wound beside her nose, one gunshot graze wound on her forehead and a wound to the back of her head.
Fouche also testified about various lacerations, bruises and marks on her left arm and hand. In reply to a question by Kgomo, the pathologist said these were defensive wounds.
Fouche also referred to lacerations on the back of the girl’s head. “She died due to multiple gunshot wounds,” she told the court.
Fouche testified about a reddish chafe mark on the girl’s genitals. She submitted that the mark indicated “penetration of some sort” and “possibly forced”, although there could be other explanations.
However, in her opinion, the girl was forcefully assaulted sexually and, in legal terms, penetrated. “Any penetration is sexual, whether it’s fingers or any other object,” she said under cross-examination.
Cloete told the court the State’s case would be that Marthella Steenkamp was first shot in the chest outside the house.
Fouche agreed, because grass was found on her bloodied shirt. Cloete submitted that the State believed the girl ran inside the house and tried to make a phone call, but collapsed at the phone.
“She would not have had any strength left at that stage,” said Fouche. Fouche told the court the three victims all had head wounds, inflicted just before they died.
On Tuesday a State DNA expert will testify.
The trial continues.