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Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp whoa was shot four times at his home in Pretoria, South Africa on Feb.14. Pistorius claims he believed she was an intruder but Gerrie Nel, the senior state prosecutor told the court”[Pistorius] shot and killed an innocent woman,” adding there is “no possible explanation to support” the notion that Pistorius thought Steenkamp was an intruder .Neighbors told police they hear shouting and then gunshots at the home. Prosecutors believe the murder was intentional because Pistorius would have to put on his prosthetic legs, get the gun and walk to the bathroom.
Prosecutors said Steenkamp had arrived at the house with the expectation of spending the night with Pistorius. They said that Steenkamp was shot while in the bathroom, which is about 21 feet from the main bedroom, and that the two rooms are linked by a passage. The door to the toilet was broken down from the outside, prosecutors said, inferring that the bathroom door had been locked.
Prosecutors believe it’s a case of premeditated murder because, they say, Pistorius had to stop, put on his prosthetic legs, grab a gun and then walk 21 feet to a bathroom.
The premeditated murder charge means that he would be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, and that he is likely to be denied bail, which is expected to be decided later today.
South Africa has moved away from the jury system, in light of its brutally racist past, so Pistorius’ fate will rest in the hands of a judge and two magistrates.
The prosecution said that the defense will no doubt argue for the charge to be downgraded to a Schedule 5 murder, but that was clearly wrong, according to the prosecution.
In a Schedule 5 offense, the onus is on the prosecution to prove that it would be in the interest of justice to keep the accused behind bars and not release him on bail. A Schedule 6 offense is a more serious category, wherein the defense has to prove that it would be in the interest of justice to release the accused person on bail.
The defense made it clear today that it is going to argue that Pistorius thought a burglar was inside that bathroom. The defense said prosecutors have no way to prove that he knew who was in there, and that they are prepared to submit evidence of other men who have shot wives and children, mistaking them for burglars.
News reports in local papers have said that police are investigating whether Pistorius had an anger-management problem that led to the incident. They focused on a bloody cricket bat that might have been used when Steenkamp died.
Meanwhile, the Steenkamp family planned a private memorial service at Victoria Park crematorium in the south coast city of Port Elizabeth today. As Pistorius stood before the court, Steenkamp’s body was being transported to Port Elizabeth.
Photo from PR Photos