Prosecutor says Pistorius lied on stand

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Prosecutor says Pistorius lied on stand
South African Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius (C) leaves the High Court in Pretoria on 8 August 2014. A verdict in the high profile murder trial of sports star Oscar Pistorius has been set for September 11, after lawyers wrapped up five months of drama-filled proceedings on August 8. Eighteen months after Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, the star's fate now lies in the hands of South African Judge Thokozile Masipa. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA SEPTEMBER 4: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius arrives at his Uncle's house on September 4, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) A broken toilet seat from the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Bullet holes on the tiles inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Bullet holes on the tiles inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) An empty room in the house where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 21:(SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Inside the bathroom where the Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on August 21, 2014 in the house in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is currently awaiting the verdict on his murder trial. Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on September 11, 2014. (Photo by Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius walks past Reeva Steenkamp's parents in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Herman Verwey - Pool/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: OBarry Roux gives his closing arguments in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Barry Roux gives his closing arguments in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius talks to a member of his defence team, Brian Webber in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Herman Verwey - Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius gestures during the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court at the end of the first of two days of concluding arguments on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/MuJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius attends the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius blows his nose during the presentation of the final arguments of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7, 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 7 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius's father, Henke Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Closing arguements begin today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 7 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Barry Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's father arrives at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Closing arguements begin today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives to take part in a hearing of his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria on August 7 2014. Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot inside his home. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 after questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had earlier finished. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Alon Skuy, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius puts on his jacket as he arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, April 11, 2014. The chief prosecutor laughed scornfully at an answer from Pistorius during the Olympic athlete's murder trial Thursday, mocking the man who shot his girlfriend. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
The bullet-riddled toilet door through which Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Sttenkamp is exhibited in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday accused him of tailoring his version of how he killed his girlfriend to fit evidence at the scene, exhaustively listing alleged inconsistencies in the athlete's account of the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
South African chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. A judge temporarily adjourned the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius after the athlete started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
South African chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel gestures as he explains a possible scenario into how Oscar Pistorius might have fired on girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. A judge temporarily adjourned the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius after the athlete started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)
Sister of Oscar Pistorius Aimee Pistorius, center, attends his murder trial as chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, April 14, 2014. Pistorius who is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013, is being cross-examined at his trial for the fourth day by Nel. (AP Photo/Kim Ludbrook, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross questioning of Oscar Pistorius, in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool)
Lois and Arnold Pistorius, aunt and uncle of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, cry as he testifies during his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, on April 8, 2014. Star Paralympian Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness box at his murder trial on April 8, insisting he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had a loving relationship and saw a future together before he shot her dead on Valentine's Day. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIM LUDBROOK (Photo credit should read KIM LUDBROOK/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 9: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Gina Myers, Reeva Steenkamp's best friend, is overcome with emotion as she listens to Oscar Pistorius' testimony in the Pretoria High Court on April 9, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi - Pool/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius hops into the car as a police offer watches the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 24, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Oscar Pistorius, left, with a relative leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 24, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 11 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on April 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 11 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on April 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2014. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 7: scar Pistorius's defence lawyer Barry Roux in the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Werner Beukes/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (L) reads notes during the lunch break on the first of two days of concluding arguments at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius attends the first of two days of concluding arguments at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014. A South African prosecutor branded Pistorius 'deceitful' and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -AUGUST 8: Oscar Pistorius's family in the Pretoria High Court on August 8, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is Pistorius' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. (Photo by Herman Verwey-Pool/Foto24/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
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By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and GERALD IMRAY

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The chief prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial said Thursday in closing arguments that the athlete repeatedly lied during testimony in a crude attempt to defend against a murder charge for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel cited flaws in the defense, saying the Olympian's legal team floated more than one theory about what happened on the night that Pistorius shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door in his home. Defense lawyers had argued that Pistorius fired in self-defense, fearing an intruder, Nel said, but they also raised the possibility that he was not criminally responsible and accidentally shot because he was "startled."

"It's two defenses that you can never reconcile," Nel said as Pistorius sat behind him in the dock, occasionally flicking through documents. The once-celebrated double-amputee athlete appeared calm, in contrast to some past occasions during which he retched and wailed in apparent distress.

The prosecution has argued that Pistorius intentionally shot Steenkamp before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013 after a quarrel, and argued he knew she was in the bathroom.

Nel ended his closing argument by saying Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder because he then "made up his mind" to find his gun, walk through to the bathroom and shoot.

"That, my lady, is pre-planning," Nel said to the judge.

Pistorius Closings: Aggressive Prosecution, Defense On Deck


Yet Nel said Pistorius should still be convicted of murder even if the court accepts he did not know it was Steenkamp in the toilet cubicle, arguing the athlete intentionally shot at and killed a person with no reason to believe his life was under threat.

Barry Roux, the chief defense lawyer, listened and checked files as Nel spoke for hours. Nel was occasionally questioned by Judge Thokozile Masipa and urged to speed up elaborations on written arguments of more than 100 pages that were submitted to the court last week.

Roux began his final arguments before Masipa postponed proceedings until Friday for the defense to finish. Masipa will then adjourn the trial to deliberate with two legal assistants on a verdict, with Pistorius facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the main charge of premeditated murder.

Roux noted that some of the evidence at the scene, which Nel referred to, had been moved around by investigators.

"We're not talking about a conspiracy," Roux said, calling it unintentional tampering. Roux also noted that Hilton Botha, the former chief investigating officer in the case, had acknowledged mistakes in police procedure but was not called by the state as a trial witness.

According to Nel, Pistorius was vague in allegations that police had possibly tampered with evidence around the scene of the shooting, including fans and a bedcover strewn on the floor of his bedroom. It was also improbable that the athlete, in his version, rushed with his gun to investigate a purported sound in the bathroom without first trying to talk to Steenkamp and confirm that she was safe, the prosecutor said.

"We cannot argue that he was the worst witness ever, that honor belongs to someone else," said the prosecution's written argument. "The accused was, however, demonstrably one of the worst witnesses ever encountered."

The prosecution said Pistorius also "used well-calculated and rehearsed emotional outbursts to deflect the attention and avoid having to answer questions."

A psychologist who examined Pistorius during a court-ordered observation period concluded that the athlete had become severely traumatized since the killing and could become an increasing suicide risk unless he continues to get mental health care.

The fathers of the Olympic runner and Steenkamp, a model and television personality, were in the Pretoria courtroom for the first time since the trial began in early March. They sat at opposite ends of a long bench in the gallery. Pistorius is said to be estranged from his father, Henke, and Steenkamp's father, Barry, has been ill.

Pistorius' older brother Carl, who has regularly attended court sessions, was in an intensive care unit in a South African hospital and was on a ventilator because of injuries suffered in a serious car crash last week, the Pistorius family said in a statement.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius faces three separate gun-related charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Because South Africa has no trial by jury, Judge Masipa will decide if Pistorius committed murder, is guilty of a negligent killing, or if he made a tragic error and should be acquitted. The runner also would be sent to prison for years if guilty of murder without premeditation or culpable homicide.

Masipa told Nel and Roux that they had only until the end of Friday to complete their final arguments in court.

"Unless, of course, you want to work on a Saturday and perhaps Sunday, after church," she said, smiling.

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