Oscar Pistorius, once known as the double-amputee “Blade Runner” on the Olympic trials stage, is now more well-known for a different, yet perhaps more infamous, name: accused murderer, falling far from gracing the world stage he stood upon just two short summers ago. Although he stood then, proudly headlining international newspapers as an Olympic hero and athletic inspiration to citizens the world over, he is currently back in the headlines as the closing of his murder trial draws near. Though the Olympian is no stranger to trials, having had to qualify for two Olympic competitions, this trial is proving the toughest yet for Pistorius, and perhaps, his last ever.
Closing arguments commenced Thursday, August 7. The prosecutor described the former Olympian as an “appalling witness” who lied repeatedly during his testimony in an unsophisticated way, as he attempted to defend himself against the murder charge he is currently facing for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. This observation comes after the prosecution had mentioned multiple times that he and his defense team have used numerous lines of defense, none of which are consistent. While outside the legal community multiple defenses for one crime draw skepticism, within, it draws doubt on behalf of the jury and red flags on behalf of the prosecution. While Pistorius might have through the Olympic trials with the adoration of a world wide fan base, it appears that his trial for murder might end differently.
In the case there are even more factors that are cause for doubt about his innocence. Pistorius, taking the witness stand on his own behalf, has told conflicting stories about what exactly happened the night he alledgedly shot his girlfriend to death. On top of that, his defense team is also trying to factor in “outside influences” that they say could negatively affect their client. His defense team has suggested that there have been outside influences, like evidence tampering and police disruption, that will negatively affect the verdict. To his own credit, Pistorius has not only taken the stand, but he has also played the grieving boyfriend, the vigilant protector and the wrongly accused defendant.
However, even with so many cards seemingly stacked against him, he does still have some things working in his favor. Prosecutors, although establishing several legitimate claims about the events, have left what some are calling some significant holes in their case. Most gaping of these holes might be the one where prosecutors claim premeditation while Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs, which contradicts information from ballistic experts testifying that he likely shot Steenkamp while on his stumps.
As is the case with most murder trials, this one too many questions still unanswered even as arguments close. Many are left wondering in these final days if any of it will be enough to see the former athlete walk out of the South African courtroom a free man. Of course there are others that will continue to wonder, long after the case verdict, how Oscar Pistorius, the “Blade Runner” himself, could go from a favorite contender at the Olympic trials to being on trial for the purposeful murder of his model girlfriend.
By Heather Everett (Pomper)