Oscar Pistorius and the murder of Valentin Reeva Steenkamp. What happened that night?


Cape Town, South Africa (AP) – Here’s what to know about the night South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius The shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, ​​on Valentine’s Day more than a decade ago shocked the world and tarnished the image of a sports superstar.

Pistorius, a world-renowned double-amputee runner, competed on carbon-fibre blades at the 2012 London Olympics. released on parole Friday spent nearly nine years in prison for murder.

He has always said that he shot Steenkamp in a tragic mistake on the morning of February 14, 2013, thinking she was a dangerous intruder in his home in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. Prosecutors said he deliberately killed Steenkamp, ​​a 29-year-old model and reality TV star, during a late-night argument and then made up the story of an intruder.

a judge Pistorius’ story initially accepted But South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the reduced murder conviction against him after an appeal by prosecutors and found him guilty of murder.

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Pistorius did not deny that he fired four shots from his licensed 9 mm pistol through a closed toilet cubicle door in his home, hitting Steenkamp in the head, arm and hip. But the shooting by Pistorius was the centerpiece of his dramatic 2014 murder trial, which lasted seven months and was broadcast live around the world.

He testified that in the middle of the night he heard a noise in the bathroom and became convinced there was an intruder in his home. He said he picked up his gun from under the bed where he was sleeping next to Steenkamp and went to the bathroom.

When he heard noise from the chamber, he opened fire from the door in self-defense. Steenkamp was hit on the other side of the door.

Pistorius’s story was attacked by prosecutors, who asked how if he was so concerned about a dangerous infiltrator how did he not check where Steenkamp was earlier. She said she even had to walk past Steenkamp’s bed to go to the bathroom.

Pistorius said he had woken up and gone to the balcony to get a fan when he heard a noise coming from the bathroom and became frightened and panicked. He said he ran to get his gun and assumed Steenkamp was still in bed.

Once he saw that Steenkamp was not in bed after the shooting, he realized she might be the one in the toilet, he testified. Pistorius said he had to break the locked toilet door with a cricket bat in a futile attempt to save her.

Is artificial leg fitted or not?

Prosecutors alleged at the start of the trial that Pistorius had taken time to fit his prosthetic leg before shooting Steenkamp. He said it showed premeditation and that he would not have done it if he had been reacting suddenly to what he believed to be a dangerous intruder.

Pistorius’ defense lawyers showed the angle of the bullet hole in the toilet door – which was brought to court as an exhibit – proving he fired the shots while standing on his stumps, and prosecutors later admitted that Pistorius He fired the fatal shots even though he did not have to. prosthetic leg. Pistorius’ lawyers also asked him to walk around the courtroom without his prosthetic legs, in hopes of showing that he was unstable and weak without them and how this could explain his panicked reaction to a potential threat in his home.

The basis of the prosecution’s case was that the couple, who had only been dating for a few months, had a late-night argument and Steenkamp ran to the bathroom in fear of an angry Pistorius. Neighbors testified that they heard screaming before loud bangs coming from Pistorius’s villa around 3 a.m. Prosecutors said this showed the couple had been arguing before the shots rang out.

Pistorius’ lawyers said that when he realized what he had done, he screamed and hit the door with a cricket bat to reach Steenkamp. The manager of the gated community where Pistorius lived and his daughter were the first people to arrive at the scene of the shooting. The manager testified that when they arrived Pistorius was crying, screaming and praying as he carried Steenkamp’s bloodied body down the stairs.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ultimately convicted Pistorius of murder under a specific South African legal theory because he acted so recklessly when he fired through the door that he should have known that he killed someone without cause. Will go. This is equivalent to the punishment of third-degree murder and Pistorius was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.

But the final verdict did not definitively address whether Pistorius knew he was firing specifically at Steenkamp and intended to kill her. and that question – The crux of the matter – can never be fully answered.

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