One of the two men accused of being the gunman who killed three children as they slept is himself a father of three and would “never, ever hurt someone else’s children”, his mother said on Friday.
Angelina Browers said her son, Peter Nokewes, knew the pain of losing a child, after three of his children with his partner died at birth.
“I know my son. I know what he is capable of, and what he wouldn’t ever do. And he would never have done this. Never,” she maintained.
Nokewes and co-accused Rowan Stuurman appeared on multiple murder and attempted murder charges relating to the massacre in Clarke Estate, Elsies River, on September 17.
The case was postponed to November 1 for a bail application.
They were arrested within hours of the murders, which the two mothers of the murdered children survived, despite suffering serious injuries.
Assailants had kicked open the door of the structure behind Northmead Court late that night.
Bianca Alexander and Mandy Samuels lay in a makeshift bedroom with Samuels’ daughter, Toslin, 10, between them.
The gunmen opened fire, with locals claiming to have heard about 50 shots.
Bianca’s son, Adrian “AJ” Alexander, 12, was shot in the neck and Samuels’ son, Malcolm Junior “MJ” Samuels, 12, was shot in the face. The boys had fallen asleep on a couch opposite the doorway.
Vineto Africa, 19, was killed after he was shot in the face while lying on a bed in the same room as the boys. He is believed to have been the target of the shooting.
Toslin was shot and died instantly, while family members told News24 that the women had managed to escape when the shooters were forced to reload after running out of ammunition.
Both women are currently in protective custody.
After their first court appearance following their arrest, both men claimed to be innocent as they were led back to the holding cells.
Browers, too, said her son was not involved as he had gone to bed shortly before 9pm that night.
“He had taken out his contact lenses and had gone to lie down. He can’t see without those things and the last thing he does every night is remove them,” she said
The morning he was arrested, police waited for him to put his lenses back in, she pointed out.
Browers maintained that had she suspected her son of being involved in any crime, she would inform police herself, as she had done in the past.
“I was in the house that night. He knows when I lock up, no one comes in or out. The Lord knows what happened during that terrible shooting. And my son wasn’t involved in it.”
She confirmed he had been out on parole at the time of the shooting and that she was aware he was “unfortunately” a member of the G-Unit gang.