Oscar Pistorius’ dramatic Murder Trial has been extended into mid-May, the South African court overseeing the trial announced Sunday. The trial will recess the week of April 7 and resume April 14 through May 16.
Pistorius, a South African Olympian and first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympics, shot and killed girlfriend and model, Reeva Steenkamp, through a locked bathroom door early Valentine’s morning, 2013. Also known as the ‘Blade Runner’, Pistorius claims he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.
Steenkamp was shot in the hip and head, among other places, and when she received the head shot is a key issue for both the defense and prosecution.
The prosecution says Reeva was first hit in the hip and received the head shot – the most likely cause of death – last.
To make their case, the defense needs to prove the first shot fired by Pistorius hit Steenkamp in the head and killed her.
The primary reason this is so important is that neighbors testified that they heard Steenkamp screaming after the first shots were fired, and then more shots followed. This evidence would support the prosecution because if Steenkamp had screamed after first being shot, she had yet to receive the head shot. This would also mean Oscar Pistorius heard her screaming and should have stopped firing completely instead of pausing before popping off the second round of deadly shots.
So Reeva couldn’t have screamed if the first shot killed her, and, according to the pathologist who performed Steenkamp’s autopsy, it would have been “abnormal” for her not to scream if the shot that literally blew her hip apart was the first shot.
The defense claims that any screaming heard was actually Oscar Pistorius, not Reeva Steenkamp.
A police expert testified his belief that it was the first shot that Pistorius fired through the locked bathroom door that hit Reeva in the hip, forcing her to crumple to the ground but she was still alive. The second shot missed her and then the police expert believes Steenkamp had time to cry out before being hit by two more of the lethal bullets as she covered her head and tried to protect herself.
Marius Du Toit, a defense lawyer and former state prosecutor with over 100 murder cases under his belt has been following the Oscar Pistorius trial closely. According to du Toit, “Suddenly what we have is Oscar Pistorius firing at Reeva Steenkamp while her hands are covering her head while she’s screaming in the toilet, and that’s murder.”
Du Toit believes the prosecution has “definitely” made their case for murder against Pistorius and now the ‘Blade Runner’ defense has their work cut out for them to prove the prosecution wrong.
Du Toit also believes the prosecution has done a good job of presenting a specific chronology of events that don’t look good for Oscar Pistorius. The testimony of the neighbors coupled with expert opinions of pathologist Gert Saayman, and the police ballistic expert, adds up to a “reasonable” scenario where Steenkamp did scream after being shot and as the shots kept coming.
“There’s definitely a golden thread here,” du Toit told The Associated Press via telephone. “A golden thread of someone who was screaming and who was shot. The objective facts, which are the injuries she sustained, coupled with the expert opinion, tied with your circumstantial evidence presented by witnesses. And if that ties up with one another then Oscar has got a major problem.”
Oscar Pistorius reportedly could be taking the stand this week. According to Pistorius’ attorney, Barry Roux, not only will Oscar testify but he has indicated that Pistorius could be his lead-off witness. The testimony of Oscar Pistorius could be the foundation of the defense’s approach and could determine his guilt or innocence.
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