Oscar Pistorius Trial 2014: Case Update On South African Sprinter

oscar pistorius
Oscar Pistorius reacts during the fourth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Reuters

Day Four of the Oscar Pistorius trial centered on the testimony of another one of the sprinter's neighbors. Dr. Johan Stipp described the scene at the Olympian’s home after Pistorius had shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Shortly after hearing screams and gunshots on Valentine’s Day 2013, Stipp made his way to Pistorius’s home. The radiologist found Steenkamp lying on her back at the bottom of the stairs. He was met by a distraught Pistorius, who explained that he shot his girlfriend, thinking she was a burglar.

Stipp detailed his attempt to save the model, though he realized she had little chance of surviving. According to Stipp, Pistorius was crying, and his grief appeared to be sincere. He was even afraid that Pistroius might decide to take his own life.

"Oscar was crying, saying 'Please let her live,'” testified Stipp. “He was saying he would dedicate his life to God if she will only live."

Stipp confirmed the testimony of other neighbors, saying he was woken up by gunshots and screams. Defense attorney Barry Roux has tried to discredit statements made by Charl Johnson and his wife Michelle Burger, who claimed to have heard screams from both a man and a woman. Roux contends that only Pistorius screamed, when he called for help. He denies that his client got into an argument with his girlfriend before the gunshots.

Roux has tried to prove that Johnson and Burger have been inaccurate with their account of the night. Johnson claims he called security after hearing all gunshots, but Roux says what Johnson actually heard was the sound of Pistorius breaking down the bathroom door, with a cricket bat. Pistorius has admitted to shooting Steenkamp, but any mistake could call into question the accuracy of Johnson’s testimony.

Witnesses involved in a separate event were called to the stand on Day Three of the Pistorius case. Boxer Kevin Lerena told the court how Pistorius fired a gun at a Johannesburg restaurant in January of last year. No one was hurt, but the incident could prove that the 27-year-old is trigger happy. Lerena claims that Pistorius begged the gun’s owner, Darren Fresco, to take the blame. Pistorius says he didn’t know the gun was loaded when he accidentally put a hole in the floor.

Pistorius faces weapons charges and premeditated murder. If convicted, he could serve life in prison.

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