A few weeks ago I submitted some pre-trial observations about South African, Oscar Pistorius, killer of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of 2/14/13. Oscar is the almost mythic paralympian who overcame enormous odds to make an international name for himself in the world of track, running assorted sprints on “blades” replacing two lower limbs amputated before his first birthday .
I’m willing to cut those who have overcome great physical and mental challenges a break and that includes Oscar Pistorius. Let Oscar be petulant, gun-obsessed, self-centered, emotionally abusive and unfaithful in romantic relationships, arrogant…I’ll cut him some slack because he overcame that double-amputation to set the track world on fire.
But I won’t cut him a murder break. By his own admission, we know he killed girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, rather brutally by blindly firing four shots through a toilet door where she had barricaded herself, presumably from Pistorius’ jealous fury. The last shot tore into her brain; two others hit her in the arm and hip and an apparent defensive wound was found between the base of two fingers.
There was a time when I, as an avowed bleeding heart liberal and sports nut, loved Oscar’s story.
That was then, this is now. Sadly, Oscar Pistorius has turned out to be pure pond scum. A theatrical clown putting on a self-pitying show in a Pretoria courtroom for all the world to see. He spends the days of his trial for the murder of his beautiful young model, law school grad girlfriend, by weeping incessantly, burying his grieving head in his hands, even vomiting when he hears of the results of his filthy deed.
Let’s review. Among the early witnesses was Michelle Burger, a lady living in a neighboring estate who heard shots and desperate screams piercing that deadly Valentine’s Day morning around 3AM.
The witness also said the person screamed terribly and yelled for help (‘the person’ clearly meaning Steenkamp). Objectively, the witness added that she heard a man yell for help before the shots were fired. That would have been Oscar. Was he so dense, he didn’t recognize his girlfriend’s screams? More likely he was setting up a scenario even then to explain his actions.
Burger’s testimony contradicts Pistorius’ version of events, because he said he thought Steenkamp was in bed and he did not describe any woman screaming. Burger said the screams were blood-curdling. Her husband would later testify that the screams continued throughout each shooting until the very last shot, then they faded away.
A pathologist witness told the court it would be abnormal not to scream after being shot in the hip and arm.
On cross examination, defense attorney, Barry Roux attacked the initial witness by saying she added “blood curdling” to the statement she gave in court, a term she did not use in the police report in describing the screams. Is that all you got? Does attorney Roux really think the judge, Thokozile Masipa, who will make the final determination of guilt or innocence, is that stupid? If he does, big mistake. The judge is a black female and former social worker and advocate. She is known as being very tough on defendants found guilty of heinous crimes against women. No favoritism there. Roux even went so far as to suggest that the “shots” the witness heard, were actually the sounds of a cricket bat being used to knock open the toilet door. Another problem in logic. There were shots. Four of them. Is the defense suggesting there were none?
On a different day, a radiologist neighbor claimed he was awoken by “three loud bangs”, which he believed to be gunshots, followed by screams that sounded like they came from a woman, and then heard three more bangs that also sounded like shots. Later the defense got him to say Reeva could not have screamed after she was shot. After a mortal wound to the head, no. But you can scream at the top of your lungs if you’re shot in the arm, hip or hand. Been there, done that!
One of Pistorius’ lawyers read Oscar’s account of that early morning killing. Oscar claimed he talked with his girlfriend in bed before going out to a balcony off the bedroom to fetch two fans. He then said it was so pitch-dark, he didn’t notice that Steenkamp was no longer in bed. He later surmised she must have gone to the bathroom while he was on the balcony. If it was as pitch-dark as Oscar claims, how could he navigate through the bedroom to place the fans? There’s also the matter of his statements in his application for bail. Only one fan was mentioned at that time. He came in from the balcony and closed the curtains and blinds. Obviously the intent was to make the room dark for sleeping. Steenkamp’s absence could have easily been seen prior to the closures.
He also said he heard the toilet window open and grabbed his 9mm. He said nothing about hearing screams. Wouldn’t Reeva scream at that point or flee the bathroom intruder(s)? To match Pistorius’ story, all her actions were counter-intuitive. Were any fingerprints taken from that window at the time of the slaying? There is such a thing as shoddy police work, and if that was the case at the crime scene, Oscar might just prevail.
The defense continued to challenge the screaming accounts of the first and second day’s neighbor witness. “We know Reeva was in the toilet (a room within the bathroom). We know it was locked, you could hear increased fear, anxiety? You heard that out of a closed closet in a house 177 meters away?” The window from which the woman and her husband claim to have heard the screams faces Pistorius’ house. It was open as the couple was having AC trouble.
For the defense, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim the bad guy(s) got in through an open window and then insist that the toilet was closed completely off. If it was open, was Reeva desperately trying to escape? On the other hand, the “can’t hear the screams” defense is not without legitimacy. I expect the defense to present experts who will insist that under the existing conditions and factors, screams could not be heard at the distance described (if, indeed, that’s an accurate number). Problem is other neighbors gave virtually matching accounts of shots and screaming as well. Even Pistorius said he screamed. The first witness said she heard a man’s scream.
Another day of testimony told us a bit about Pistorius’ character and ongoing gun fetish. He carried a gun into a restaurant with three pals. At their booth the gun accidentally fired. A boxer friend in attendance told how Oscar passed it under the table so the boxer could take the blame. Later testimony would reveal a shot through an open sunroof. A Tuesday witness told of Oscar’s “Big love of weapons.”
We’ve got two or three weeks to go. More Pistorius’ histrionics, more distorted claptrap from team Oscar, a bunch of overpaid, say anything, professional defense “experts” and ‘Oscar as Jesus’ character witnesses.
Speaking of vomiting.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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