Oscar Pistorius relies on his well-known Christian faith to persevere through his trial. The accused is a double amputee known as “Blade Runner,” due to his using prosthetic blades for running, is charged with killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius, who was raised in a strong Christian home, has apparently relied on his faith and the Bible for solace during the hearings. ABC News reports that the accused has been seen with a string of rosary beads and reading Breakthrough Prayer: The Power of Connecting with the Heart of God by United States based pastor Jim Cymbala. The prosecution rested earlier this week, and the defense prepares to offer its own evidence.
Pistorius, who won the respect of the world for overcoming his double leg amputation to compete in the 2012 Olympics, has since become something of an object of global disdain since the night of Steenkamp’s death. In the year since, he has been seen at pubs and by appearances, nonchalantly ‘partying’ with friends; perhaps most controversial in light of his girlfriend’s shooting death, the defendant supposedly made a few trips to the gun range. However trial witnesses report a much more introspective and focused person since proceedings began.
Nonetheless, in spite of some of his high-profile living, Pistorius is also well-known for relying on the same deep-seated faith that he was raised with. Last year, his aunt Lois stated that he had spent a lot of time reading the bible, while rarely going out. His uncle Arnold followed up by stating that the former sprinter spends a lot of time praying and that a local pastor visited him regularly. Blade Runner friend and business partner Mike Azzie echoed other people’s beliefs about Pistorius genuine feelings: “Oscar is really taking this hard; he has no confidence and doesn’t make eye contact anymore. He’s carrying the world on his shoulders. He’s a broken man,” Azzie said in an interview. He also stated that in order to pay for his defense, the defendant is preparing to sell some of his prize race horses.
Pistorius’ defense prepares to take the lead in the trial as the prosecution rested on Wednesday. According to the New York Post, the accused has little choice but to take the stand in his own defense. The defense will revolve around the claim that former Olympian was deeply in love with Steenkamp, and that fatal shooting last year was a tragic accident, and in no way premeditated. The defense will point to its client being wrapped in Christian prayer over the body of his dying girlfriend. Pistorius told the court that he is currently going through a hard time via the trial.
In spite of his outspoken declarations of his love for Steenkamp, the accused faces skepticism. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel claimed that what messages between Blade Runner and Steenkamp, many more correspondences between the two point to a tumultuous relationship, full of arguments.
Many who know Pistorius concur with the claim that he relies heavily on his Christian faith both before and during his trial. As he and his defense attorneys prepare to take center stage during the trial, Blade Runner and his supporters may indeed ask for a little help from above. If convicted on the most serious charge of first degree murder, Pistorius could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.
By Ian Erickson
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