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Prosecutor: Pistorius is untruthful, an egotist



BY CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA AND GERALD IMRAY

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius' credibility was consistently questioned at his murder trial Thursday as the chief prosecutor argued that the star athlete had a string of unlikely excuses why he wasn't to blame in the three gun charges he faces on top of murder for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, in cross-examining Pistorius for a second day, doubted the Olympian's honesty. It goes to the heart of the case.

Nel asserted that the double-amputee runner wouldn't "accept responsibility for anything" and reacted incredulously to Pistorius' explanation of why a gun he was handling went off under a table in a packed restaurant, for which he was charged with firing a gun in public without good reason.

Pistorius said a friend's pistol, a Glock, went off while he was holding it but insisted that he hadn't pulled the trigger. The incident happened just weeks before model Steenkamp was shot to death by Pistorius on Feb. 14, 2013. A police expert testified earlier at the trial that the Glock couldn't be fired without the trigger being pulled.

Nel said: "We have you in possession of the gun, a shot went off, but you didn't discharge the gun? ... I'm putting it to you, you fired that gun. There is no other way," Nel said. "You are lying."

"I respect Mr. Nel's comment," Pistorius replied, "but I didn't pull the trigger on that firearm."

Pistorius also said two witnesses, a former girlfriend and a friend, were both lying about an incident in 2012 when the runner is alleged to have fired his gun out the sunroof of a moving car. Pistorius said he wasn't guilty of yet another against him, illegal possession of ammunition for .38-caliber ammunition found in a safe in his home after he killed Steenkamp.

Pistorius said his father had put the bullets into the safe and that they belonged to the father. But Nel said Pistorius' father Henke had "refused" to make a statement to police on the ammunition being his.

"You just don't want to accept responsibility for anything," Nel said to Pistorius. Pistorius' answers to the accusations were short denials.

By attacking Pistorius' credibility on the other three charges, Nel was pushing the prosecution's argument that Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion, is also lying about killing his girlfriend by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius, 27, says Steenkamp's death was a terrible accident after he mistook her for an intruder and fired four times with his licensed 9 mm pistol through a toilet door and into a cubicle. Prosecutors say he intended to kill the 29-year-old after a loud argument heard by witnesses and charged him with premeditated murder - for which he faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Pistorius insisted again Thursday that the shooting was an accident and he did not intentionally fire four shots.

"I didn't have time to think about if I wanted to or didn't want to," Pistorius said. It was his fourth day in the witness stand, the first two days having been spent being questioned by his own attorney, Barry Roux.

Nel also accused him of egotistical behavior in his relationship with Steenkamp, and described Pistorius' courtroom apology to his girlfriend's family on Monday as an insincere "spectacle" that ignored the feelings of her relatives. Steenkamp's mother, June, has attended court sessions this week.

"Your life is just about you," Nel said to Pistorius, claiming he wasn't "humble enough" to apologize in private to the family and away from the media glare of his murder trial, which is being broadcast live around the world.

"That's not true," Pistorius replied.

Pistorius said his lawyers had been in touch with representatives of Steenkamp's family, and that he had believed the family of his girlfriend was not ready to meet him.

"I completely understand where they're coming from," he said. "It's not that I haven't thought about them."

Nel asserted that Pistorius was sometimes mean to Steenkamp, pressing him about her objection to him playing a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar on a car stereo. Pistorius referred to the song in a cellphone message to Steenkamp that acknowledged her objections and has been included as evidence in the trial.

The prosecutor asked if the name of the song was "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe," but Pistorius said he couldn't remember the specific song. Nel responded that Steenkamp would have been right to take offense, but "we can't ask her."

A phone message from Steenkamp to Pistorius that was shown in court includes the line: "You make me happy 90% of the time and I think we are amazing together but I am not some other bitch you may know trying to kill your vibe."

Two contrasting images of the double-amputee runner have emerged in court: the defense-led image of Pistorius as a contrite man who had been worried about crime and made a mistake on the night he killed Steenkamp, and the prosecution's depiction of him as an overbearing egotist who was obsessed with firearms and killed her intentionally.

On the relationship, Nel said he had checked all of Steenkamp's text messages on her phone and the phrase "I love you" appeared only twice in those missives. On both occasions, he said, they were written by Steenkamp to her mother.

"Never to you and you never to her," Nel said, addressing Pistorius.

"I never got the opportunity to tell Reeva that I loved her," Pistorius said in a soft voice. He did not look at Nel while replying to the prosecutor's questions, instead directing his gaze to Judge Thokozile Masipa on the dais.

Masipa will deliver a verdict because there is no jury system in South Africa.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.


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Matt Freemon April 10 2014 at 1:18 PM

I hate it when someone breaks into my home to use the bathroom!
Guess I'll just have to shoot them next time!

Flag Reply +12 rate up
mike April 10 2014 at 2:13 PM

oh I guess his thoughts mustve been: An "intruder" locked in a cubicle... the size of a closet... with nothing but a toilet... my gf is for some reason not in the bed next to me... hmmmmm oh i know! the intruder definitely kidnapped her! Now hes back and is hiding in the toilet closet cubicle to kidnap me next!! i wont let that happen.... Bang bang bang bang! ---->oops

Flag Reply +3 rate up
BETTE N. GREENE April 10 2014 at 2:22 PM

I ONLY PRAY THAT JUDGE THOKOZILE MASIPA IS NOT BLINDED BY THE FACT THAT HE IS THE
HERO OF JOHANSBURG, THE AMPUTEE WHO BROUGHT THE TROPHY HOME AND LOOK
BEYOND THE UNDENYABLE TRUTH THAT HE IS INCAPABLE OF ACCEPTING THE ANGER HE
GENERATED BY PURPOSEFULLY KILLING REVA , THE WOMAN THAT WAS LYING NEXT TO
HIM IN BED, BUT INSTEAD PRETENDING AN INTRUDER WAS HIDING IN HIS BATHROOM.
GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
blacwaxx April 11 2014 at 1:08 AM

2 words...............Oscar PREPOSTEROUS !!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
okinaneko April 10 2014 at 2:32 PM

Here's a guy who lives in a secure compound with security guards and he didn't call them first?
If I get it right he gets up, puts on his legs, scoops up a gun, goes to the bathroom that has a cubicle for the toilet and blasts away.
No I've got a gun, I've called the police, nothing just blasts away.
He needs more than a hail Mary, he needs direct divine intervention,,,,, a personal appearance so to speak.
It is a shame to spend money on jailing him when there are so many people who need help there and around the world.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ChingOW Mango April 11 2014 at 1:02 AM

There's a legal and medical term for the way Pistorius' mind works - unfortunately I can't think of it. The point i want to make is I had a brother-in-law who ACTUALLY believed his own lies. He was extremely intelligent and would tell the same lie over and over vetbatium and he believed it - he was not simply a liar - but somehow the wires crossed in his brain and he would really believe what he said - never wavering or changing one detail of the 'story'. I think this is the same with Pistorius and he actually in his conscience mind believes the lie he is telling. Somewhere way in the back of this dark mind lies the truth that he is not willing to bring forth. I think Pistorius will go to his grave believing his tale of "I didn't know it was her!" I hope the Judge comes up with a fair and just sentence for this bastard - who never got the opportunity to tell Reeva he loved her.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
Audrey Denise April 10 2014 at 2:37 PM

Either way this is a very sad case.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Kathryn April 10 2014 at 2:39 PM

only following this story casually but based on published pictures he's bawling like a baby (and by that I mean: hello get tissue?) or looking pissed off. not a really great actor.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
deejunebug Kathryn April 10 2014 at 10:19 PM

I haven't watched the trial...are there actual tears rolling down his cheeks? OR...is he going through all the motions of "crying" only using his voice to convey his emotions. There is a big difference between real tears and crocodile tears...i.e. Casey Anthony used the latter to pretend she was remorseful.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
pamandtim April 11 2014 at 12:37 AM

I don't believe that he thought it was an intruder, based on what neighbors have testified...that they heard a loud argument and her yelling for help. BUT...I believe he is truly remorseful. That though, should not get him off the hook. He needs to spend some time in prison and to be knocked down a few notches. I feel badly for him, but she was someones daughter. sister, friend...

Flag Reply +3 rate up
eiujb2 April 10 2014 at 2:42 PM

I agree with all the below. He was a manipulator from the get go. He knew what he was doing at the time of the incident. He is using his ' no legs ' condition to aide in his defense. And all that crying is a pure pity party he is trying to convey. I hope it doesn't fly.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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