South Africa: Man charged in 3 ax killings released on bail

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A 21-year-old man who faces three counts of murder for the ax killings of his parents and older brother was released on $6,500 bail Tuesday, a day after he turned himself in to police.

Henri van Breda is accused in the January 2015 killings in an upscale gated community that made headlines across South Africa.

An official with the Stellenbosch Magistrate Court confirmed van Breda’s release and said he is expected to appear in court in Cape Town on Sept. 9. The official insisted on anonymity, saying he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Van Breda also faces one count of attempted murder and one count of obstruction of justice. The family’s daughter, Marli, was wounded in the head.

The ax attack killed Martin van Breda, his wife, Teresa, and their eldest son, Rudi.

Shortly after the attack, Henri van Breda calmly reported it to emergency services. Asked if his family was “unconscious,” he said: “Yes, and bleeding from the head.”

It then sounded like he chuckled, “Hehe,” according to a recording posted on the website of local broadcaster eNCA.

Van Breda was lightly injured in the attack in Stellenbosch, a town in South Africa’s wine-farming region.