South Africa’s “Trial of the Century” continued Tuesday, the murder trial of South African Olympian, Oscar Pistorius, garnering more media attention than even the Fifa World Cup, according to Data Driven Insight (DDI), a media monitoring group.
Measuring South Africa’s news headlines against the Pistorius trial, DDI also found that “nothing can move the media attention [away] from Oscar”.
Following a dramatic Monday that featured pathologist testimony so horrific that murder defendant, amputee runner and former South African Olympic Hero, Oscar Pistorius, threw up, he resumed the trial Tuesday with a green bucket on the floor beneath him. The explicitly gruesome nature of Monday’s testimony also caused the judge to disallow reporters from quoting it directly.
Pistorius, popularly known as the ‘Blade Runner’, is accused of intentionally shooting former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, several times as she hid behind a locked bathroom door around 3am Valentine’s morning, 2013. Pistorius and his defense, meanwhile, claim that the South African Olympian mistook Steenkamp for an intruder, and that is why he unloaded several rounds through the bathroom door – rounds designed to inflict as much damage as possible.
Featured on the stand Tuesday, was a friend of Pistorius, Darren Fresco, who gave testimony regarding related gun charges against Pistorius. One of the charges involved Pistorius firing his gun out the sunroof of Fresco’s car, and the other accuses the ‘Blade Runner’ of shooting into a restaurant floor, then asking Fresco to take the blame. The restuarant, Tashas in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reportedly filled to capacity at the time.
While both incidents are tied to the murder trial as additional charges, they also shed light on Pistorius’ volatile character, his relationship with guns, and his temper, all traits that the prosecution believes could have lead to Steenkamp’s tragic death.
CNN reports that Fresco was pulled over for speeding in late 2012 with Pistorius in the passenger’s seat. The police officer saw the South African Olympian’s gun and picked it up, sending Pistorius into a rage.
“(The) officer had picked up the accused’s weapon, to which the accused said, ‘You can’t just touch another man’s gun’,” Fresco told the court. “He (Pistorius) was furious about it, that someone else had touched his gun.”
Following the run-in with police, Pistorius suddenly shot his gun out the sunroof of Fresco’s car. “(It was) totally out of the blue. No warning,” said Fresco.
The shot Pistorius fired in the restaurant is claimed to have been an accident and took place a month before Pistorius killed Steenkamp. While the defense contends Pistorius thought the gun wasn’t loaded, Fresco asked, “Why would I walk around with a gun with no magazine in it?”
Fresco testified that Pistorious asked for his gun and after he handed it to him under the table it discharged. The South African Olympian then asked Fresco to take the blame.
Following up on his powerful testimony Monday, pathologist Gert Staayman was brought back by the defense to question his assertion that Steenkamp hadn’t eaten within the two hours before she was killed at 3am. This directly contradicts the South African Olympian’s narrative, however, which has the couple in bed by 10pm. Pushed by the defense, Staayman would not budge and continued to stand strongly by his testimony.
Also, when asked if Steenkamp would have still been able to scream had she been shot in her hip or arm before she was struck in the head, the pathologist replied, “I think it would be somewhat abnormal if one did not scream.”
As the resulting trial of this horrible tragedy moves forward, South Africa and South African athletics has no choice but to move forward also, the upcoming 2014 World Cup perhaps a good distraction that can reflect positive memories from the 2010 World Cup, when South Africa played host.
Images via detroitnews.com and The Telegraph