One of the most tragic stories to surface after the 2012 Summer Olympics is heading into the final stretch. Double amputee men’s 400 metres and 4 × 400 metres relay race star Oscar Pistorius is set to hear the final arguments from prosecutors claiming he intentionally shot and murdered girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Just to recap the sensational story coming to an end in South Africa…at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 metres and 4 × 400 metres relay races. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Pistorius won gold medals in the men’s 400-metre race and in the 4 × 100 metres relay, setting world records in both events. He also took a silver in the 200 metres race, having set a world record in the semifinal.
On 14 February 2013, Pistorius was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, whom he had fatally shot at his home in the early hours of that morning.
Time is reporting:
The chief prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial said Thursday the the double-amputee athlete’s lawyers have floated more than one theory in a dishonest attempt to defend against a murder charge for his killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made the allegation during final arguments in the sensational trial in a Pretoria courthouse, where the fathers of the Olympic runner and Steenkamp, a model and television personality, were in court for the first time since the trial began in early March. They sat at opposite ends of a long bench in the gallery.
Nel said a criminal trial was a “blunt instrument for digging up the truth” but that he was confident of his case. He then said defense lawyers had argued that Pistorius acted in self-defense, fearing an intruder was in the house, but also raised the possibility that the once-celebrated athlete was not criminally responsible, accidentally shooting Steenkamp through a closed toilet door because he was “startled.”
“It’s two defenses that you can never reconcile,” Nel said.
In the first part of the trial that took place in March of this year, the prosecution argued that Pistorius intentionally shot Steenkamp before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013 after a lovers fight. Pistorius’ defense has argued that he fired by mistake, thinking he was about to be attacked by an assailant in the toilet and that Steenkamp was in the bedroom.
It is important to note that South Africa has no trial by jury. That means that the entire mega case rests on the shoulders of Judge Thokozile Masipa, who will decide (with the help of two legal assistants) if Pistorius committed murder, is guilty of a negligent killing, or if made a tragic error and should be acquitted.
If found guilty, Pistorius could face 25 years to life in prison for premeditated murder. He may also be sent to prison for multiple years if he is likewise found guilty of murder without premeditation or culpable homicide.