Monday, March 4, 2013

Big Problems with Pistorius’ Version of Events

To understand the Oscar Pistorius case, it is important to understand his version of events. What happened Oscar? Most of the time the public doesn’t get to hear the defendant’s version until the actual trial, which we’ve established probably won’t start for about another year. But Oscar gave the world a gift last month. Here is what he said happened, in a nutshell. 

Oscar’s Version of Events

Oscar claims that he woke up in the early morning hours of February 14, 2013, and went to the balcony to grab a fan. That’s when he heard someone in the bathroom. He claims that he felt vulnerable because he didn’t have his prosthetic legs on. He then says that he grabbed his 9-mm pistol from under his bed and went into the bathroom. He screamed for the person to come out. When there was no response, he claims that he opened fire on the bathroom door (four shots in total). He then says that he went back into the bedroom and yelled for Reeva Steenkamp (his girlfriend) to call the police. That is when he says he realized that she wasn’t in the bed.


There are clearly several problematic details in his statement that raise concerns as to the validity of his story. First and foremost (from a logical standpoint), Oscar says that while going to the balcony he heard the noise then he went to get his gun, which was located under his bed. Basically, he is trying to make people believe that he went to get his gun, which was under his bed, but didn’t notice or check whether Reeva was in the bed or not? This just seems hard to believe, particularly since he is claiming that he did not have his legs on.

Also, if he didn’t have either of his legs on, how did he get around? Maybe I’m just ignorant to the ways of prosthetics, but this will need to be explained thoroughly to a jury—as I’m sure most of them will probably be ignorant about this as well. If he screamed for the person to come out of the bathroom, how come Reeva didn’t answer him from the bathroom? Surely that kind of yelling would have at least caused her to respond.

Pistorius had said he moved into the bathroom on his stumps when he fired the four shots. However, warrant officer Hilton Botha, South African detective on the case, said that the shots went in a “top to bottom” trajectory, suggesting that Pistorius was wearing his artificial legs when he pulled the trigger. The bottom line is that the discussion of the trajectory of the bullets will come into play during trial and will prove whether or not Oscar is telling the truth about not wearing his legs. 

Also, a neighbor has claimed that she heard “non-stop shouting” coming from the home of Pistorius shortly before the shooting. The prosecution says that the witness “heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other...from two in the morning to three.” Pistorius’ first call after the incident was to the manager of his high security complex at 3:19 a.m. Even more damning is that the prosecution is claiming to have two more witnesses with even worse claims. The first witness, on the upscale gated community near Pretoria where Pistorius lived, said he heard a shot, followed by 17 minutes, followed by more shots. The other witness said he heard a shot, went out onto his balcony and saw the lights on in Pistorius’ home, heard a woman scream two or three times, and then more shots. These witnesses will certainly play a large role for the prosecution during trial.

Why the Statement Now Oscar?

This sworn statement that Pistorius gave to the prosecution was a huge mistake, in terms of for his defense team! He has now given the prosecution the gift of knowing what he is going to say, and he must now stick to this story. The prosecution can now find experts to refute his version of events, scientifically. Even if he is telling the truth (a long-shot, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt until trial), he still should not have given this information. But because he is a celebrity, it is likely that he wanted to quell public skepticism of his intent, which he appears to have accomplished. 

The Alleged Steroids

People are continually talking about the bottle that police found, which is claimed to contain steroids. Whether this is steroids or not and whether he was taking it at the time or not should be completely irrelevant, in my opinion. The whole “roid-rage” argument is ridiculous. Steroids increases testosterone and testosterone can certainly raise the levels of aggression in a person. That being said, most twenty-year-old males should then be killing people in mass, because we know that their testosterone levels are very high. In any event, there is no way to prove one way or the other that testosterone played a part in the murder, and even suggesting it is irresponsible. The last thing that the world needs is experts on both sides arguing over whether steroids can cause a person to commit murder or not. Oh, the circus; I can see it now! That is really all I will write about that until it is brought up again at court, if it is at all. The prosecution needs to stick to the facts here and the solid evidence, which there seems to be plenty of, and discard the voodoo criminalistics.

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