Alleged "Modimolle Monster" Johan Kotze blamed his wife for his deeds, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.
His friend Dirk van der Merwe testified that Kotze phoned him on 3 January this year after allegedly torturing his wife, orchestrating her rape, and killing her son.
He was crying and said he no longer wanted to live. He said Van der Merwe would never see him again and should not search for him.
Kotze phoned him again the night after the crime.
When Van der Merwe asked him "what the hell he had done", Kotze said it was all (his wife) Ina's fault.
Kotze said he had tried twice to commit suicide, but could not get it right.
Van der Merwe urged Kotze to hand himself over to the police and even offered to go with him, but Kotze said he first had a few tasks to perform and would then go to the police.
About a week later, a tired and worn-looking Kotze arrived at his workplace and "just stood there".
"I just said 'oh Johan, oh Johan' and told him to sit down.
"He said he wanted to talk to me but I said there was no time. I phoned the police and he was arrested," Van der Merwe said.
Kotze, Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlane and Frans Mphaka are accused of murdering Kotze's stepson Conrad Bonette and kidnapping, repeatedly raping, assaulting and attempting to murder Kotze's former wife Ina Bonette.
Van der Merwe testified that he and Kotze had coffee at Kotze's house the morning of 3 January.
Kotze told him he was tired, and he had watched Ina and did not like what he saw.
He said he had business in Hammanskraal that day and also had to go and fetch his daughter in Pretoria.
Shortly after 11am, Kotze phoned and said he and Ina had an appointment for later that afternoon and were going to talk things through.
He repeatedly warned Van der Merwe not to come to his house, because he said he needed "alone time" with Ina.
Kotze phoned him again a while later to make arrangements for the removal of palm trees in front of his house and told Van der Merwe he had stopped three men in the street to help him.
Two of the men went with Van der Merwe to re-plant the palms, but Kotze insisted that one called Andries should stay with him and repeatedly told Van der Merwe to bring the other two back to his house.
They did not talk when Van der Merwe dropped the two off at Kotze's house, but Kotze phoned him at about 1.45pm and again told him not to come to the house.
He did not sound different, but was crying when he phoned Van der Merwe again a few hours later and told him he no longer wanted to live.
Van der Merwe told the court about an incident over the preceding Christmas period when Kotze took another woman called Lizette on a holiday trip with him.
The woman's relationship with Kotze soured after he hit her with an oar while they were river rafting.
The woman told Kotze it was the last time he would hit her and thereafter distanced herself from him.
Kotze's 18-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Jo-Marie Kotze, testified that she had spent the Christmas period with her father and had an arrangement to visit him again on 3 January his year.
He phoned her a few times to make sure she was okay and then phoned her again at about 4pm.
He told her he had caught Aunt Ina with another man. He loved her very much, was very disappointed and could not believe she (Ina) could do something like that to him.
She remembered telling her father to leave Ina so that they could get on with their lives.
He sounded quite normal and arranged with her to wait for him at his friend's house.
She was not worried about her father and never suspected anything was wrong at that stage.
She only spoke to him again on the day of his arrest, when he told her to enjoy her matric year and to come and fetch her furniture and motorbike at his house.
She said Kotze had always tried to protect her and never really showed her what he was really feeling, although he told her things were not going well with Ina.
He always appeared to be happy and was always smiling when he saw her.
Kotze's daughter started crying while giving evidence, and sobbed when she hugged her father after testifying against him.
The court orderly at first refused to allow her to go near her father, but later allowed her to talk to him for a few minutes.
The two stood talking quietly and Kotze consoled his daughter as she stood sobbing in his arms.
The trial continues.