Oscar Pistorius was found guilty on Thursday of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the previous conviction of culpable homicide.
Pistorius had previously been found not guilty of premeditated murder, but Judge Eric Leach has ruled that the six-time Paralympic gold medalist had to have known that firing his gun through the bathroom door in his home would have killed whoever was behind it — regardless of whether he thought the person inside the bathroom was an intruder.
“All the shots fired through the door would almost inevitably have struck the person behind it,” Leach said in his ruling, according to CNN.com. “There would be effectively no place to hide.
“The identity of victim is irrelevant to his guilt.”
Pistorius could face up to 15 years in prison. He can still appeal through South Africa’s Constitutional court. Pistorius has been on house arrest at his uncle’s residence since being released early from prison after serving a year for his previous conviction of culpable homicide. You can read more about the case here.
The Oscar Postorius murder trial is set to conclude later this month. The trial has included some disturbing witness accounts about what happened the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed, but nothing has been quite as eery as the video that was released on Sunday of Pistorius reenacting what he says happened the night he shot his girlfriend.
Australian TV’s Seven Network “Sunday Night” program aired a video this week that showed Pistorius moving through his house on his stumps in an attempt to explain how he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and killed her. The reenactment was paid for by Pistorius’ uncle and done for a Cleveland-based firm called The Evidence Room.
The goal of the reenactment was to create a 3D version of Pistorius’ account of the events. However, Pisorius’ lawyers say the footage was “obtained illegally” and is a clear breach of the non-disclosure agreement between the six-time Paralympic gold medalist and The Evidence Room. It is unclear how the network obtained the footage.
A series of messages that were exchanged between Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a smartphone app called WhatsApp were read at Pistorius’ trial on Monday. The messages, which were downloaded from Steenkamp’s phone by police captain Francois Moller, indicated that Steenkamp was frightened by Pistorius’ temper just weeks before he shot and killed her.
“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me,” Steenkamp wrote in one message, according to CNN.com. “You make me happy 90% of the time … I’m not some other bitch.”
Moller noted that 90% of the messages exchanged between the two were normal and loving in nature. However, there were several that seemed to show Pistorius had an issue with jealousy and would confront Steenkamp because of it.
“You have picked on me incessantly,” she wrote in another message. “I was not flirting with anyone today and I feel sick that you suggested that.”
Less than a week before Steenkamp was killed, she wrote a message to Pistorius expressing her disappointment after he apparently lashed out at her in public.
“I didn’t think you would criticize me for doing that, especially so loudly that others could hear…” Steenkamp wrote. “I regard myself as a lady and I didn’t feel like one after we left.”
Earlier on Monday, Pistorius’ neighbor Anette Stipp testified that she heard a series of three gunshots the morning of the shooting, followed by a woman and a man screaming, and then more shots after the screaming. Pistorius’ defense team has argued that the only screaming neighbors could have heard was that of Oscar after he realized he had shot his girlfriend. Stipp said she heard “terrified, terrified screaming.”
“It sounds to me as if there’s a family murder,” she said. Why else would she scream like that?”
The trial, which was originally expected to be over by March 20, is now scheduled to run through mid-May.
Whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty or innocent, there is no denying he is having a difficult time sitting through some of the testimonies in the Reeva Steenkamp shooting trial. On Monday, Pistorius sobbed and vomited into a bucket during a testimony from the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Steenkamp.
Marzanne vd Berg, a reporter from South Africa, noted that a short adjournment was needed after Pistorius threw up at the start of Saayman’s testimony. Pistorius was later photographed with a bucket underneath him and a towel on his head, with reporters noting that he was making “loud retching noises” during the proceedings.
Pistorius also broke down in court last week as a neighbor described the scene he discovered when he went over to Pistorius’ house the night Steenkamp was killed. He has been extremely emotional throughout the entire trial.
Oscar Pistorius broke down in court Thursday on the fourth day of his murder trial as a neighbor described the scene he discovered the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed. Johan Stipp, a radiologist and Pistorius’ neighbor, told the court about the immediate aftermath of the shooting that took place on Feb. 14, 2013.
“I went near her, and as I bent down, I also noticed a man on the left kneeling by her side,” Stipp testified, via ESPN.com. “He had his left hand on her right groin, and his right hand, the second and third fingers in her mouth. I remember the first thing he said when I got there was, ‘I shot her. I thought she was a burglar. I shot her.'”
As Stipp gave his testimony, Pistorius leaned forward on his courtroom bench and covered his face. He then moved them to cover his ears and remained that way for a while.
Pistorius was granted bail last week but is still facing charges of premeditated murder. Pistorius has said that he thought Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, was an intruder in his home and that he shot her accidentally. Reports also say he tried to resuscitate her after she was shot.
Prosecutors are arguing that Pistorius murdered Steenkamp by shooting her four times after they had a fight. Reports have said that Pistorius may have been jealous over text messages Steenkamp supposedly traded with rugby player Francois Hougaard. The Enquirer is adding a new detail, saying that police believe she may have told Oscar she was pregnant.
“Police believe the pregnancy secret she revealed is what sent Pistorius over the edge and left her dead, with bullet wounds to the head, chest, pelvis and hand,” an insider close to investigation told The ENQUIRER.
“Police theorize that Pistorius was in a rage – possibly induced by the illegal steroids that were later recovered in his home – and bludgeoned Reeva with a cricket bat during a fierce argument,” said the source. “When police found the bat, there was lots of blood on it.
“Investigators believe Pistorius shot the young woman once while they were fighting.”
This theory also states that Steenkamp hid in the bathroom after getting shot once, and that Pistorius shot through the bathroom door three more times to kill her.
This is certainly a wild suggestion, and a lot of it hinges on whether you believe The Enquirer and its source. An autopsy would determine whether or not Steenkamp was pregnant.
At this point I find Pistorius’ story somewhat difficult to believe. If Steenkamp had spent the night in his room, why would he recklessly fire into the bathroom believing there was an intruder without checking to see where she was first?
This story has had an incredible amount of turns. Not only is Pistorius facing murder charges, but so are Pistorius’ brother and the case’s original prosecutor for cases that were recently reinstated.
Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model, is Oscar Pistorious’ girlfriend who was killed early Thursday morning in South Africa, according to multiple reports.
Pistorius allegedly shot his girlfriend inside his home four times Thursday, reportedly believing she was a burglar. One reporter said Pistorius’ girlfriend had come in early to surprise him on Valentine’s Day.
Steenkamp was named one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World two years in a row by FHM, for whom she modeled. You can see some photos of her in FHM South Africa.
Steenkamp has been participating in a South African reality show called “Tropika Island of Treasure 5,” that was set to air this weekend. The show’s website posted a note to send condolences to Steenkamp’s family and friends.
“We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends,” the note said.
Steenkamp and Pistorius were said to be dating for a couple of months, according to the model’s publicist, Sarit Tomlinson.