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Prosecutor ends cross-examination of Pistorius



By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and GERALD IMRAY


Apr. 15, 2014 6:18 AM EDT
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, wrapping up five days of cross-examination Tuesday of the Olympian, insisted that he intentionally shot his girlfriend to death as they argued.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he had no further questions after presenting the prosecution's case that Pistorius is lying in his account of mistakenly shooting Reeva Steenkamp in the predawn hours of Valentine's Day last year. Nel said the double-amputee runner killed her intentionally after an argument.

In the adjournment after his cross-examination, Pistorius rubbed his eyes and briefly sank his head into the shoulder of a man who comforted him. He took a tissue from his sister Aimee, who squeezed his arm reassuringly. Shortly afterward, he listened attentively as Barry Roux, his chief lawyer, spoke to him in a low voice.

Throughout the grueling cross-examination, Nel accused Pistorius of "tailoring" evidence and "concocting" a story that he shot out of fear of an intruder in a toilet cubicle in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Nel said the couple fought during the night and Steenkamp wanted to leave, then fled to the bathroom screaming before Pistorius shot her through the door with his 9 mm pistol. Pistorius said he never heard Steenkamp scream, or say anything in the minutes before he shot her.

The prosecutor even charged that Pistorius fired the four shots from about three meters (yards) away from Steenkamp as he was talking and arguing with Steenkamp, and changed his aim with later shots to ensure he hit her as she fell back. Nel's unrelenting questioning and accusations provoked many denials by Pistorius and caused the athlete to break down in sobs on numerous occasions.

The athlete says that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder about to come out of the toilet to attack him. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

Over the past week, Pistorius came under intense pressure from Nel who accused the world-famous disabled athlete of lying in the witness box. Pistorius has struggled at times to explain alleged inconsistencies during his testimony.

Nel closed his cross-examination Tuesday by inviting Pistorius to take the blame for shooting Steenkamp, but the runner steered away from a direct response, saying only that he opened fire because he believed his life was under threat. That remark drew barbed follow-up questions from the prosecutor.

"We should blame somebody ... Should we blame Reeva?" asked Nel, who has harshly criticized Pistorius as someone who is unwilling to take responsibility.

"No, my lady," Pistorius replied, addressing the judge in line with court custom.

"She never told you she was going to the toilet," Nel said. Then he asked: "Should we blame the government?"

When Pistorius responded with another reference to a perceived attacker in his toilet, Nel asked: Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds that ripped through her body?"

He abandoned his line of questioning soon after the judge questioned whether he was asking the same thing in a different way. Nel summed up by saying Pistorius intentionally killed Steenkamp.

Pistorius remained in the witness box while Roux asked him a series of follow-up questions.


Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination

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JOHN LAWRENCE April 16 2014 at 10:43 AM

Give the case to Judge Judy....Guilty in 5 minutes

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hunkidori April 15 2014 at 11:14 AM

It's important to remember the history of both Pistorius and Steenkamp. Pistorius does have a warped sense of fear and yet entitlement to shoot off guns at a restaurant and out of a car's sunroof. He was also a bit controlling, anger- and jealous-driven with his past girlfriend AND with Steenkamp. Pistorius has said in the past that he does not want his reputation tarnished, so he had asked friends to cover for him, for them to take the blame. Steenkamp was a beginning advocate against abusive relationships, specifically towards women, and was set to give a talk/speech to young girls the very next day. I have a feeling that Steenkamp had had it with Pistorius (she documented this sense in a few e-mails or texts to Pistorius). It was also uncovered that Pistorius viewed pornography the day/night Steenkamp arrived at his home. Again, I have a feeling that Steenkamp, having given it her best to really make this relationship work, had had enough; perhaps she found him browsing pornography or was pushed to her limit with his jealous and controlling ways for the last time, confronted him on his uncalled-for behavior and told him she didn't want to see him anymore and would make it known to the public of his verbally abusive and controlling demeanor. There had to be something to really threaten Pistorius for him to lose it like he did and kill her. There's no doubt in my mind he intentionally set out to hurt or kill her, because Pistorius' neighbors heard the arguing just before the fatal shots. Also, I don't care if you're hyped-up on radical fear of an intruder in your home; if you're sleeping with a supposed "loved one," theeeeee very first thing you do is check on them, wake them immediately and instruct them to take cover, call the police, becasue you're about to confront an intruder. That's very clear to me, and anyone who doesn't feel the same way is off-balance, bonkers. Again, it's clear he did it, but my real question is why? Why did he pop? I feel he popped, because Steenkamp threatened his reputation, and Pistorius could certainly not have that.

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3 replies
liquidsnakeny April 15 2014 at 11:10 AM

First of all, he is a control freak. They had a history of an abusive relationship. It was only a matter of time before an abusive relationship turns deadly. He deserves a jail sentence for what he did. Explain this: 1) how does a person who keeps a gun in his dresser, which by the way is near the bed, not see someone in their own bed? He just had an fight with her and she ran out of the bedroom crying and screaming. The way most people react to intruders in their home is to let them know that they have a gun and are not afraid to use it. Even a gun collector would give a warning that they have a gun, something this idiot did not do. 2) Did he have enemies that were trying to hurt him? (FYI - he is a native of south Africa. It's not like he' a tourist.) He does have a history of threatening reva with a gun in the past, so it was bound to happen. I believe he snapped and had to kill her. Final verdict: GUILTY!!!

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Freddy Phifer April 15 2014 at 11:09 AM

The angle of the bullets when they entered the bathroon door, him without his legs on, the upward angle of the bullets alone should show the judge that he is lying. He had to have his legs on to stand that tall and shoot into the door the way he did. Lying to save you ass will get you convicted every single time, unless off course, you are OJ Simpson.

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john foote April 15 2014 at 11:09 AM

Who would fire a gun into a locked bathroom door without knowing who is inside; just call the police. He is guilty and should get the death sentence.

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kilbyhanna April 15 2014 at 11:03 AM

It would seem a pretty lucky break to me if you had intruders locked in your bathroom. All you would need to do is tell them you had a gun, and were calling the police. They aren't going anywhere! The neighbors had heard them fighting for an hour before the gunshots. And it wasn't the little weeny Oscar screaming either. It was Reeva screaming for her life.

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aaldrew April 15 2014 at 11:03 AM

He's a POS

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Andrew April 15 2014 at 11:02 AM

Was he ever asked what he thought the robber was doing in the bathroom. Could he have stopped to pee while robbing the home. I am sorry but speaking from experience when I hear something downstairs I check on my family first. I make sure I know they are in their rooms before I go downstairs with a gun in my hand. When I SEEthat they are asleep in their beds I know that who ever is downstair IS the intruder.

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hankbask April 15 2014 at 10:59 AM

First thing a man does when and IF he hears an intruder is guards his loved ones and makes sure they are in a safe place. Then he gets his weapon and tells his loved ones his intentions. Then he finds a safe vantage point from which to view and aim at the intruder when the intruder emerges from hiding. Therefore, all this nonsense does not add up. An intruder does not corner themselves in where they can be attacked, with no chance for escape. Even then, one shot will tell Pistolorius what to do next. If there is cry of surrender, a slumping sound, or a shot fired back. Two, three, four shots more are not necessary. None of this adds up. Reports have circulated that he was jealous of her friendship with another man, an old friend. He was insecure about his prospects long term with this beautiful woman, and even jealous of her. Losing her would have been an insult to him which he could not envision overcoming. He had no legs. He didn't want her to be with anyone else, or worry that she would leave him broken hearted. Add his Roid Rage and gun enthusiasm, jealousy and insecurity, and you have THIS situation. Reeva Steenkamp was lured to her death. Both her and Pistolius' cell phones were found with her in the toilet. There was mention of him carrying on with another woman and she went to check his text messages in the privacy of the toilet. When he discovered what she was doing, he followed her to the toilet and threatened her with a gun . The rest is history.

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3 replies
loamylam April 15 2014 at 10:58 AM

What is tragic about this case is regardless how it turns out nothing can bring her back. To allow him to go free is a slap in the face to their judicial system and still will not bring her back. To incarcerate him would keep him off the streets and stop him from harming others but still will not bring her back. My thoughts are to give him the ultimate sentence and spare the public of him 'going off again' on anybody else. Still, the saddest part is nothing will bring her back. If only there could be instilled in us when facing trauma and grief that there could be emotional justice,

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1 reply
rsmoot001 loamylam April 15 2014 at 11:06 AM

This man is no danger to anyone. The prosecution has not proved anything other than they were wrong about everything that they claimed in this case. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! Get it!

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4 replies
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