Oscar Pistorius, South African Olympian and first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, is on trial for the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutor Gerrie Nell is calling the crime premeditated and claiming there was “a motive to kill.” Nell claims Pistorius got up from bed, put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven meters before shooting Steenkamp several times through a closed bathroom door.
Pistorius is claiming that he thought she was a burglar and shot in order to defend himself. Pistorius went to sleep around 10 p.m., according to The Associated Press. Then, sometime after midnight, he woke up because he heard a sound coming from the bathroom.
From there, prosecutors say, he put on his legs, grabbed his gun and walked about 20 feet towards the bathroom. He then ranged several shots through the bathroom door which ended up killing Steenkamp.
Pistorius is claiming that it was accidental and that he thought she was an intruder. When he realized it was her he went into the bathroom and carried her down the steps as he waited for the police to come. However, some witnesses who live less than 600 hundred feet away claim they heard a shouting match between Pitorius and Steenkempt shortly before midnight.
It seems very unlikely that he could have mistaken her for an intruder. I find it odd that Pistorious would be unable to sense his partner getting out of bed. What also strikes me as odd is that he didn’t bother to turn on the light so he could see to put his legs on correctly, or assess the safety of his girlfriend.
South Africa is one of the leading countries with domestic violence. On the day before she died (February 13th) Steenkamp had retweeted Lindiwe Suttle’s post of “WEAR BLACK THIS FRIDAY IN SUPPORT AGAINST #RAPE AND WOMAN ABUSE #BLACKFRIDAY.”
Nike Inc. has suspended its contract with Pistorius due to his charge. Nike issued a statement Wednesday saying, “We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.” They have currently removed a Nike ad from his website which said, “I am the bullet in the chamber”.
Saturday, Pistorious was released on an $113,000 bail. Justice in South Africa is slightly different in the United States. People charged with crimes there don’t have the option of a jury trial. Instead, they have a single judge who hears the entire case and determines whether or not the person is guilty. The judge can be assisted by two advisers during trial, whose roles are assisting in looking more into the technical aspects of the crime and trial. If a person is found guilty they can later appeal the ruling. A person sentenced for a premeditated crime typically does life in prison with no parole since there is no death penalty in South Africa.