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Cellphone Data Shows Frantic Calls Between Mihalik Murder Suspects
The three men on trial for the murder of Cape Town lawyer Pete Mihalik spent the morning of the killing on the phone, the court heard Tuesday.
The Renault Clio and VW Polo has seen on CCTV footage of Mihalik’s murder may have disappeared during rush hour, but they left a trail in their cellphones’ location records and call logs.
Brigadier Petrus Bergh, the provincial head of the Hawks’ priority crime management investigations section, allegedly presented the court with a huge list on Tuesday.
Sitting in front of a laptop, he displayed a long document of cellphone location tracking he pieced together after going through hundreds of calls between the three suspects before and after the murder.
Sizwe Biyela, Nkosinathi Khumalo, and Vuyile Maliti are charged with killing Mihalik and attempting to kill his children, whom he was due to drop off at school in Green Point on 30 October 2018.
Three have pled innocent.
Bergh’s evidence is the next piece of a gigantic puzzle the State intends to solve so acting Judge Constance Nziweni may decide if police nabbed the correct persons.
According to the State, the accused almost got away and was lost in rush-hour traffic. Without a traffic official pulling them over for not stopping at an intersection, police might not have gotten the three cellphone numbers in question on Tuesday.
At the traffic stop, one of the two-car convoy pulled over, drove away, returned on foot, and was questioned at Sea Point police station. Read more: Three Peoples Were Killed in a Murder-suicide Near Charlotte
Once he was there, and the police had eyewitness testimony of the automobiles involved and CCTV evidence of the shooting, they put two and two together, and Khumalo was facing more than simply Municipal Court for escaping a traffic official.
During questioning, his phone kept ringing. The cop interviewing him pulled out his phone and spotted Biyela’s name. Police retrieved Maliti’s number from the address he gave when accepting his fine. Bergh then combed through the three phones’ cell tower data to create a spreadsheet of incoming and outgoing calls.
He constructed a triangle of all calls between the three commencing on 22 October 2018, when Biyela was in KwaZulu-Natal. He created a timeline of Biyela and Khumalo’s arrivals from KwaZulu-Natal and calls with Maliti. On the “dry run” of 29 October, the two automobiles were spotted driving Mihalik’s children to school.
On the day of his assassination, the three made frantic calls, and the cellular tower logged their purported departure through New Somerset Hospital and on Buitengracht Street. Maliti and Biyela’s phones were picked up by towers as they passed through Maitland, and they made short calls. Read more: Five Kidnapped Policemen in Cross River Are Released
Khumalo was logged on the Sea Point police station tower. At 09:26, he stopped answering calls. Wednesday is Bergh’s cross-examination.
While Khumalo was in detention, the state got an admissions statement. He denies everything in it and alleges he was tortured into signing it. Khumalo’s statement indicates he was in the city to drive taxis for Maliti and was studying the route.
Wednesday’s trial begins.
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