Olympian Oscar Pistorius will stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend, South African Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius claims that he accidentally shot Steenkamp in his South African home back in February. He claims that he mistook her for an intruder and fired four shots through a closed door. Police claim that Pistorius and Steenkamp had been sleeping in the same bed when Steenkamp got up to use the bathroom. They further claim that Pistorius knew that it was Steenkamp in the bathroom and that he stopped to put on his prosthetics before he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius maintains his innocence and that he was not wearing his legs at the time of the shooting.
Pistorius will be formally indicted on charges of premeditated murder on Monday, August 19th on what would’ve been Steenkamp’s 30th birthday. The trial is set to begin in March 2014.
Oscar Pistorius, 26, was born with a birth defect and had to have both of his legs amputated below the knee before he turned one year old. Despite this, Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. Pistorius ran the 400 meters and 4 x 400 meter relay. He has been nicknamed “Blade Runner” in reference to prosthetic legs which are constructed of carbon fiber. Pistorius didn’t earn a medal in the London Olympics, but his presence on the track was popular despite the fact that some claimed that his metallic legs gave him an unfair advantage. Pistorius did win gold in the 2012 Paraolympics, setting world records in both the 400 meters and the 4 x 100 meter relay.
If found guilty of murder, Pistorius could face a minimum of 25 years in prison. The National Prosecuting Authority will also charge Pistorius with two counts of recklessly discharging a gun in a public place. One incident took place when Pistorius allegedly fired his friend’s gun at a Johannesburg restaurant and the other when he allegedly fired a gun from a moving vehicle.
Reeva Steenkamp was born and raised in Cape Town. She and Pistorius had been dating since late 2012. Reeva appeared in the South African edition of the magazine FHM, where she was ranked as one of the sexiest women in the world in 2011 and again in 2012. Steenkamp had also studied law at the University of Port Elizabeth and aspired to be a lawyer.
Photos of the crime scene have been leaked. Those photos show the blood bathroom where Steenkamp was fatally injured. The former lead police investigator, Hilton Botha, says that a forensic examination of the evidence will support investigator’s theory that Steenkamp was hiding in the bathroom, crouched down, at the time of the shooting.
It has also been suggested that the prosecution will present witnesses who will testify too Pistorius aggressive and violent nature. These witnesses include ex girlfriend, Samantha Taylor and former friend Marc Batchelor who claims that Pistorius once threatened to break his legs.
Pistorius’ family have said that he is currently training, not for any competitions, but simply for the sake of his mental health.
By Karen Walcott