Valentine’s Day 2013 did not end in a very romantic way for Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The, “Fastest Man On No Legs,” as he was named during the Olympics was a hero to many with his inspiring story. That story has taken a tragic twist as he starts the trial to prove his innocence in killing his girlfriend.
South African officials have said that there have been other domestic incidents but will not disclose exactly what those incidents entailed. Pistorius is now being charged with premeditated murder. He claims, however that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder and that is why he shot at her through the bathroom door.
The trial began Monday with testimony heard from the track star’s neighbor, which seemed like something from that of a horror movie. She described, “bloodcurdling” screams followed by gun shots coming from Pistorius’ home the night of Steenkamp’s death. She then testified that she heard a man scream for help three times after the woman screamed.
After this testimony Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder as well as the other gun related charges he faces. It will probably take a judge three weeks to hear testimony from both the prosecution and defense, and to reach his verdict in deciding whether it was an accident or not.
The entire court case, unless a witness does not give consent to be shown, will be televised for all of Pretoria to see. Pistorius could face life in jail with a minimum of 25 years served if convicted. Even if he is not convicted, he still faces the charge of, “culpable homicide” based on negligence, and receive up to 15 years. There are two ways the night of February 14th 2013 will be presented and I will break it down:
The prosecution will say that Oscar and his girlfriend got into an argument. She was so upset and angry that she locked herself in the bathroom. Pistorius took the time to put on his prosthetic legs, and pulled the gun out from under his bed. He then walked down the hall and shot through the bathroom door to kill her. Because he took the time to put on his prosthetics, it becomes premeditated murder; he had ample time to think about what he was doing.
The defense will stick to the account Pistorius tells in his affidavit. He heard a noise in the bathroom and immediately thought of an intruder for a few reasons: he did not have bars on the windows in his bathroom like he does on the windows in the rest of his house, and he knew the contractors left ladders there. He says, “As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself.” It was an act of self defense in killing whoever was in that bathroom.
It’s important to note that never does Pistorius deny killing Reeva. He simply says that it was an act of mistaken self-defense.
Was it negligent, if his account is true, to not look and see who in fact was in the bathroom? And if he was so worried about protecting Reeva, wouldn’t he have wanted to know where she was (she obviously wasn’t laying beside him) before he did anything?
Based on the few facts we know of this case, what would you say?