Testimony continued with the pathologist today who continued to speak on the autopsy. He also confirmed that Reeva would have been able to scream after the first two bullets. She also had eaten two hours earlier- this is not in line with what Pistorius claims.
Most of today we heard from a friend of Pistorius, Darren Fresco, who went over the occasions when Pistorious fired his gun. He spoke about the incident where Pistorius shot through the roof after the police stopped him and handled his gun. Fresco claimed that Pistorius was ‘furious about it, that someone else had touched his gun.’ He also testified about the gun incident in the restaurant where Pistorius shot the gun and asked him to take the blame. Later the defense got on Fresco for using Twitter and possibly listening to previous testimony.
On day six of the trial Oscar Pistorius became ill as he listened to the pathologist, Gert Saayman, describe Reeva Steenkamps’ wounds. Pistorius also covered his ears and put his head in his hands throughout the testimony. The judge had to stop the trial at one point because of his retching. Saayman concluded that three of the four wounds could have been fatal and were immediately incapacitating.
Earlier today the defense tried to press the security guard about his statement from Friday where he claimed Pistorius said ‘Everything’s fine’ after the shooting. Barry Roux said that Pistorius had said “I’m fine.” Baba (the security guard) was adamant that what he said was the truth. He added that he heard Pistorius crying and knew everything was not ‘fine.’
Some points were made for the prosecution today. Here’s the rundown:
The first witness, Samantha Taylor, brought up several occasions where Pistorius brandished his gun. (Pistorius has several gun charges as well as the murder charge). One time it was after he was stopped for speeding. Apparently he was mad at the police officer so after he drove away he shot the gun through his sunroof. He also woke her up at least two times during the niight because of a noise and got out his gun. This is important because Pistorius admits he did not wake Reeva up or check the bed before shooting her in the bathroom. She also countered the defense when she said he does NOT scream like a girl. Samantha broke up with Pistorius because of his temper and his roving eye (he cheated on her).
The second witness, a security guard named Pieter Baba, said Pistorius called him after the shooting and was too upset to talk, so he called him back and then he said: “Security, everything is fine.” This was about 10 minutes after he shot and killed Reeva.
Today an athlete named Kevin Lerena described how Pistorius accidentally shot off a gun in a restaurant and then asked him to say he was the one who shot it. Darren Fresco passed his pistol to Pistorius. A shot went off. He said Pistorius checked to make sure everyone was alright (though in another version Lorena’s toe was grazed) then asked him to take the blame so he did. This happened about one month before Pistorius shot Reeva. The prosecution is trying to paint him as trigger-happy, and he has pleaded not guilty to another gun charge for putting a bullet through the sun-roof of a car.
The defense once again tried to convince the prosecution witnesses that what they heard were not gun shots but Pistorius breaking down the door with a bat. This is much like what was covered yesterday.
As most of you are aware Oscar Pistorius (the Blade Runner) is on trial in South Africa for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Michelle Burgar, a neighbor, was the only witness today. She testified to hearing gunshots and “petrifying” screams from a female. The defense attorney, Barry Roux, tried to get her to say the screams could have been Pistorius but she said she heard two distinct voices. Regarding the gunshots Roux tried to get her to say they may have been the sound of a bat breaking down the bathroom door but she insisted it was gunshots. I have attached a link to a great article outlining the entire case below.
The Oscar Pistorius trial begins this week and it looks like it could be a long one. The opening and closing arguments will be live as well as expert testimony and the final judgement. This is a first in South Africa. The judge said he wanted the people to see that money and fame will not affect the outcome of this trial. The witness testimony (including Pistorius, should he decide to testify) will have audio only. The players include the following:
The judge is a woman: Thokozile Matilda Masipa, a former crime reporter who made headlines in 1998 when she became the second black woman to be appointed to the high court. She has a history of firm judgments in crimes against women. There are no jury trials in South Africa so the judge will render the final decision.
Pistorius has a strong legal team: Barry Roux is the primary lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience. He was able to destroy the police case at the bail hearing so that the man in charge of the investigation, Hilton Botha, was removed from the case. Roux charges about $6,000 a day.
Kenny Oldwageis another of his lawyers. He is famous in South Africa for defending Sizwe Mankazana, a man who drove the car that killed Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter. That man was aquitted.
The defense also has many expert witnesses, they even spoke to Henry Lee (according to Lee), famous for defending OJ Simpson. An expert team from the U.S. will reconstruct the crime scene. There is also a geologist on board.
The lead prosecutor is Gerrie Nel, a very serious lawyer who won a corruption conviction against a South African police chief- Jackie Selebi. Selebi was also head of Interpol.
The lead detective is Vinesh Moonoo, a father of two who is the top cop in South Africa.
There are over 100 people on the witness list. Included are Pistorius’ former girlfriend, friends who support him and friends who do not support him, people he has verbally abused and threatened physically and many more. I am looking forward to the Security Guard who called Pistorius right after the shooting to ask if everything was alright and Pistorius said: “Yes.”
For premeditated murder the sentence is life (25 years) in South Africa. If found not guilty on this charge he could still get culpable homicide and face 15 years.
This is getting ridiculous! Today they had a closed door meeting to address issues that were supposed to be addressed the last three times and guess what? No resolution. What is the point? Well at least the defense is getting some more money. I have linked the article about today’s hearing and it is worth a read. It brings up how silly it is for the defense to want to deny media access when the defendant was all over the media. They also want to sequester the jurors, move the trial and monitor the jurors twitter accounts. Read the article for Mr. Martinez’s response. He is the only voice of reason.
Today the defense filed yet another motion to move the trial out of Phoenix. They said a fair and Impartial jury can’t be found in Maricopa County due to the “plethora of unrestrained and bombastic coverage of the previous proceedings.” Sounds like Kirk Nurmi is on a mission to add more ‘pennies to his kettle’ (Juan Martinez quote). Other recent motions include wanting the Twitter account info of the jurors and restricting cameras in the court. Hopefully these motions, and the date of the retrial of the penalty phase will be addressed on September 16. I won’t hold my breathe.
Jodi’s Defense Attorneys have filed more motions regarding keeping cameras out of the courtroom. They cite the death threats aimed at their witnesses as the problem. (Though, if you recall, the lovely ‘Pot-Head Patti’ admitted there were no death threats.). They also want to get the twitter addresses of the jurors to make sure they are not manipulated by media- they imply that the alternate juror, Tara K., was on Twitter during the trial. From what I saw of her account I believe she started it AFTER the trial. She was new to Twitter. (Of course, as we all know Jodi is on Twitter). Oh, and of course, they still want to delay the rest of this trial. Will it ever end? Stay tuned–we have her in court this coming Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. Arizona time! Here is a link to the article, provided by my favorite Twitter source- @WitchyTweets (thanks!): http://www.kpho.com/story/22848146/judge-sets-another-hearing-before-penalty-phase-of-jodi-arias-trial
The defense has filed 2 new motions- one to vacate death eligibility and the second to vacate the aggravating factor. One of the primary reasons cited in the motions by the defense is the use of the word ‘especially’ in the phrase: “especially heinous.” Nurmi contends that use of that word implies the statue was designed for a judge, not a jury. He said that ‘layperson jurors’ are left to ‘muddle through’ the definition with a defendant’s life in the balance. Maricopa County Attorney called this a standard procedural move: “Those are defense attorneys doing their job advocating for their client,” Montgomery said Wednesday. “Obviously, we disagree.”