A former detective who in recent years solved three of Stellenbosch’s most high-profile murders on Monday found himself in the dock of the Franschhoek Magistrate’s Court on a culpable homicide charge.
Sergeant Marlon Appollis, now of the Anti-Gang Unit, allegedly shot and killed Sergeant David Hoffman while at Hoffman’s relatives’ home on Saturday night.
Appollis objected to an application for him to be photographed in the dock, saying he had “lost a friend” and did not want what happened to be turned into a “media frenzy”.
He said the cases he handled were sensitive and high profile and could result in his family and his own life being endangered.
Hoffman’s wife Ashley Carmelita also opposed the application, tearfully saying that she wouldn’t want to put Appollis’ family at risk.
“I know his children. I don’t want to be the reason his and their lives are in danger.”
Appollis wept in the dock.
The application by Netwerk24 was allowed.
The court heard that the senior State prosecutor had found that the evidence in the docket showed that a charge of culpable homicide was deemed appropriate after the docket contents were considered.
The matter was postponed to September 26 for the director of public prosecutions to make a final decision on whether Appollis should face further charges.
According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which is probing a case of death as a result of police action, a 41-year-old suspect fatally shot his colleague, who police have identified as Sergeant David Hoffman, at a house in Franschhoek on Saturday at about 10.40pm.
IPID spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said: “It is alleged that there was a social braai on a private premises, which was attended by both the deceased and the suspect.
“The two police officials were off duty.”
At the braai, Seisa said it was alleged that the suspect “pulled his service firearm and shot dead colleague”.
The bullet is understood to have hit Hoffman in the head.
“The motive of the killing is still unclear. The IPID investigation is continuing.”
Appollis was one of Stellenbosch’s top detectives before he was transferred to the Anti-Gang Unit.
In July 2018, the court sentenced Henri van Breda to three life sentences for using an axe to murder his mother, father, and brother at De Zalze Estate in 2015. The motive for the murder is still unknown.
Later that year, three men were sent to jail for the murder of Hannah Cornelius, whose body was found in May 2017 at Groenhof farm, roughly 20 minutes outside of Stellenbosch, where she had been raped and stabbed.
He was also the investigating officer in the case of Jason Rohde, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering his wife of 22 years, Susan Rohde, in a hotel just outside Stellenbosch in July 2016.