“We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way.” –Oscar Pistorius, weeping uncontrollably, again, in court
In court on Tuesday, the prosecution and Oscar Pistorius each provided details, for the first time, of the Valentine’s night that 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp took three bullets and died in the Olympic athlete’s arms.
Prosecutors told the courtroom the murder was premeditated, that Pistorius walked 20 feet and opened fire four times through the locked bathroom door. Pistorius said he had “no intention” of killing his model girlfriend, that he put on prosthetic stumps, not legs, and felt “vulnerable” to an attacker. Pistorius said he didn’t realize his girlfriend was not in bed.
More from the New York Times‘ account here:
But a lawyer acting for Mr. Pistorius, Barry Roux, said the defense would “submit that this is not a murder.” He said there was no evidence that Mr. Pistorius, 26, and Ms. Steenkamp, 29, had fought and there was no evidence of a motive. He also challenged the prosecution to produce a witness to corroborate its version of Mr. Pistorius’s actions.
“Scratch the veneer” of the prosecution case, he said, and there was no evidence to support it.
“All we really know is she locked herself behind the toilet door and she was shot,” Mr. Roux said.
Initial news reports in South Africa said that Mr. Pistorius had accidentally shot his girlfriend, thinking she was an intruder.
But Mr. Nel, the prosecutor, said on Tuesday: “If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated,” he said. “The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven meters and I kill.”
He added “The motive is ‘I want to kill.’ That’s it.”
If convicted of premeditated murder, Mr. Pistorius would face a mandatory life sentence, though under South African law he would be eligible for parole in 25 years at the latest. South Africa abolished the death penalty in 1995.
Steenkamp’s funeral was held on Tuesday as well. More than 100 friends and family attended a private ceremony in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.