Trial Discussion Thread #19 - 14.04.07, Day 17

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then, if he was in such a state of fear, why stop shooting at four rounds... what made his fear subside at four shots [if it wasn't the cessation of the screams].

i assume there were more than four rounds in the weapon.

For me, if he was in such a state of fear, his actions should correspond to such state of fear but his actions are quite different to a person who has a state of fear.

For me, his words were of fear but his actions were of an aggressor.
It put it to you.......
..... it was OP's warning that caused her to turn the key and lock the door, and then stand very quiet close to the door.

Sure... and that's why there's five? witnesses stating they heard a woman screaming for her life up until when she was apparently silenced by the final volley of shots.

What evidence indicates this? Evidence other than OP's word?

"gunshots" heard at 3:00 and again at 3:17 a.m.

Gunshots happened before cricket bat hitting the door

No evidence of any sounds heard by anyone other than gunshots and cricket bat hitting the door.
The error in personae argument is a loser argument and Nel knows this.
I don't recall anyone saying it was planned in the sense of days, weeks or months but you know that.

However, did OP not deliberately go and get his gun(supposedly from under the bed) and made sure it was ready to fire, before advancing on the closed toilet room door then before identifying any threat, let alone confirm that RS was not the one creating the "noise", start shooting, at close range and with bullets meant to kill, until he was satisfied the "threat" was gone?

Your scenario is quite different than what others are postulating. Read upthread - several think he planned to kill Reeva specifically.
Maybe my memory fails me but I distinctly remembered Roux arguing the first shot was the head. When this didn't work with the ballistic evidence, they then argued about the screaming.

I don't think so. I think that was what was said on this board, but I don't think it was ever Roux' contention that the head shot had to be first.
i understand he is on trial for the murder of RS, not RS or a random intruder. so as i see it the prosecution have to prove that he knew RS was behind the door, not just 'he shot/killed/murdered a person behind the door'.

what are they saying his motive was for murder?

so far the screams are the only element that place her behind the door, that he could have heard and identified as RS.

if there were no screams, i would be asking OP what he heard, or what made him stop shooting at four rounds?

He is on trial for murdering Reeva.

They are saying his motive was an argument that led to the shooting and that it was intentionally directed at Reeva.
We know what he did for her on Valentine's Day, he killed her. Whether through negligence, stupidity or anger, we're trying to find that out so don't go and spoil the suspense. That said, he still deliberately killed the person he shot behind that closed door and in SA, it seems that's considered premeditated murder.

It's not considered premeditated murder if it's reasonably possibly true that he believed that an armed intruder was about to shoot him and Reeva. That is putative self defense and could be the basis for culpable homicide but not intentional murder.
Nothing that I am about to list is damning in isolation but, thinking about psychology and behavior, it’s the collective and continuous actions of Pistorius that make his version suspicious and not seem like what a reasonable person would do under these circumstances. Some of these points in the list are less important than others, yet it’s the collection of issues that I find makes it hard to accept his version as truthful

A. Witnesses and expert testimony in general: pathologist, ballistics, Baba, Van De Mere, and the testimony of screaming and loud argument in the night, clothing. The reason Steenkamp goes to Pistorius house does not match his statement. It appears she only decided to stay just before she arrived from her movements, calls and messages.

B. Even if some people cannot believe that he comes across from their texts as controlling and prone to anger, or, as Steenkamp writes ‘tantrums’, for the last three weeks there been having recorded disagreements in their relationship at least once a week. His statement the relationship could not be more happy seems misplaced.

Pistorius says he talked to Steenkamp in bed just before he got the fans, therefore he knew or at least suspects she is awake.

1st Improbability: Pistorius does not at all consider Steenkamp position in his house at all, from that moment he gets up to do a myriad of activities in the middle of the night, til the time when he’s back in the bedroom after the shooting her. He has moved around, made noise, shifted furniture, pushed close a sliding full-length balcony window, plugged items or placed fans close to the bed, yet he has not once considered where Steenkamp is or talked to her. More odd, even after realizing and becoming terrified about the intruder/s in the house, he does again not consider Steenkamp position or tell her to leave the dangerous area.

Pistorius is moving two fans, one large silver metal fan at least three quarters his 5.2” height and another black fan is approx 40cm in height from his balcony to inside the room. He could move both of them in at the same time, but lets assume he takes two trips because it seems unwieldy on stumps to hold in his arms a big heavy metal fan on a tripod and the other black fan.

He places one fan at the foot of the bed, on the corner, close to Steenkamp’s bed position. He than places the small fan in front of the bed, by the cabinet and stereo speaker (also closest to Steenkamp/balcony side).

If the Yahoo story is accurate (Jurer13 Lisa says both fans were unplugged but a couple of media stories say silver fan is plugged in) he plugs the silver fan right by Steenkamp side and attaches it into the extension cord set on the floor. I find it hard to understand, given the closeness of the bed to the fan, that he wouldn’t see Steenkamp roll out of bed on his side or walk out of the bed really close to him as he’s setting up the fans.

Therefore, by his story, the best time for Steenkamp to get out of bed would be when he was on the balcony on the first or second balcony trip. I've considered her moving to bathroom while he was closing the blinds yet that's split-second timing and hard to imagine, though I'm sure we'll see an animation from Pistorius' hired 'Evidence Room'.

2nd Improbability: If she goes to the bathroom in his first trip, then it’s a too long a time for her bathroom doing nothing. It takes perhaps 10-15 seconds to get from bed to bathroom and it’s dark so if she is going to the bathroom in the dark, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to spend time in there.

If she is opening a window, he would still be outside getting the other fan, how does he hear a window opening from the balcony? He still has to get the other fan and shut the window and pull the two blinds.
Lets say she leaves to go the bathroom on the second balcony fan trip, it’s the black one he hasn’t plugged in so it so seem more likely that’s the last one he was touching and then he’s shutting the blinds etc. until he hears Steenkamp sliding bathroom window open. (I’m not even going to get into the fact it’s a bit odd she opened the window at that time because she’s hot or it’s stuffy and that she may have her daytime tshirt and a pair of shorts on.)

3rd Improbability:
It’s still quite a long time for Steenkamp in the bathroom to be in the dark with no phone or not use the phone. If she’s taken the mobile and is using it, she would have taken the phone into the toilet or placed it on a countertop, yet phone was found on the floor. Seems likely a woman who opens a bathroom window, shuts and presumably locks a toilet door in the middle of the night at her partner’s house would not just leave her phone on the floor untidily. She would possibly take the phone to the toilet and use it as light in a dark toilet.

Pistorius has just finished pulling the blinds shut, when he hears the bathroom window open. Steenkamp’s in the toilet now.
Pistorius gets his gun from under the bed.

4th Improbability: His behavior and mindset makes storing the gun under the tight gap of the bed hard to believe. The gap from under the bed is small, approx 15cm, making it harder to reach a gun quickly. Pistorius says he’s constantly paranoid. He needs the gun for noises, Samantha Taylor testified she’s never seen him put the gun in that position, therefore it would seem natural for him to have a firearm closer at hand. It’s also strange that he also does not put on his prosthetic legs close by because they, like getting his gun, give him a greater sense of power.

He shouts at the intruder to get out of the bed, and Steenkamp to phone the police.

5th Improbability: Due to Pistorius previous actions of not calling the police quickly (perhaps even having an antipathy towards authority), including the fact he did not to call after the police after her death, this yell to Steenkamp to immediately get police not seem to fit his character.

6th Improbability: Most people the first instinct under paranoia/fear would be to have visibility. He does not turn on the light.
Steenkamp has heard Pistorius say there is an intruder and her to cal police and may be pulling up her pants. She’s not frozen with terror, she’s alert because she’s moving to get dressed, or she’s standing by the door. If she has her phone, she isn’t calling the police or help. If no phone, this is a good time for her to say “Oscar, what’s happening?” Or, “I don’t have a phone.” In Pistorius account she says nothing but moves in the toilet stall, which Pistorius hears causing him to double-tap her twice/fire succession of bullets.

7th Improbability:
Pistorius is frightened about intruder or intruders, why does he not use the full clip and shoot more bullets? If he can double tap or shot four times in quick succession, that does not seem enough to cover his panic over two intruders. He says he was terrified he/they were about to “come out.” If someone was that paranoid and scared about more than one intruder, he might have fired at least one more double-tap and or a further rapid succession of bullets.

This would again seem like a good time to turn on the lights while covering the door with the gun. He does not, he thinks with four shots the intruder/s are incapacitated and will not come out of the toilet.

He shouts again to Steenkamp to call the police (I find that less than likely, see above). He doesn’t use the panic button but when walking back to the bed it ‘dawns’ on him Steenkamp in the toilet and he goes to the bathroom again to call her name and try to open the locked toilet door.
He opens the two blinds and sliding door and yells out “help, help, help”

8th Improbability: If in a panic about your partner the first instinct is to visualize the damage, get to help her as soon as possible with your own hands and ascertain her state. Seeing is believing.
Yelling out the window at unknown neighbors is ineffectual and it’s hard to understand his reasoning, as it seems more appropriate to call the police as he asked Steenkamp to do twice, call security/friends nearby, or just push the panic button.

He goes to put on his prosthetic legs, possibly turn on the light, and kick the toilet door. He then gets the cricket bat. He hits three panels out, just where the bullets are, and he find’s the key on the floor inside the toilet and unlocks the door.
Continued from above

9th Improbability: It’s hard to bounce out a key just from strikes on a door if it’s an older design lock and door. If Steenkamp had it in her hand and dropped it from the shots then it would likely have had more blood on the key.

Now, according to Pistorius, he ‘battles’ her out while she is still alive, puts towels on her to stop the bleeding but does not wrap her wounds tightly or make a tourniquet. He calls for help from friends close by, estate security manager Johan Stander and his lawyer daughter Clarice. He calls private ambulance service Netcare and makes ineffectual calls to voice mail and also Baba, head of security. Baba says after he phones that Pistorius replies: “I’m okay.” This is Pistorius version, while Baba says it was: “Everything is fine.”

10th Improbability: One’s first instinct is not to tell people that you personally are okay when dealing with a mortally wounded loved one. This seems narcissistic. Normally a person’s concentration would be saving their partner, getting help, not thinking about their own personal condition.
Pistorius had enough presence of mind to describe what happened and tell the Stander’s they should phone an ambulance, then, after describing his partner’s injuries to Netcare he hears he that he has to drive Steenkamp immediately to the hospital. Important to remember, just a few minutes ago he was yelling on the balcony for help, from just about anyone. He’s just been talking about Steenkamp to others, it doesn't seem appropriate to revert to a statement about himself.

He goes downstairs without her to open the front door to take her to the hospital. He then goes back upstairs to get Steenkamp. He has not wrapped Steenkamp in anything to stop her wounds, or provided good bleeding treatment; she’s still bleeding arterial or the just some remainder of blood downstairs. It’s unusual behavior to leave a bleeding partner to go downstairs to open the frontdoor, it would seem more natural to carry her downstairs and then open the door to take her out.

He says she dies, in his arms, at the bottom after he ‘tried to render assistance that he could’. He is found with fingers in her mouth, presumably to check her breathing. Unusual treatment as you would have wrapped up your partner’s wounds.
He washes his hands and goes back upstairs after she is dead.

12th Improbability:
Most people would stay with their beloved partner’s dead or dying body, rather than leave the body to go back to where you killed them. Psychologically, if you have been crying, screaming and are seemingly suicidal and upset, going back to the area where you would feel the most amount of shame, or as he puts it ‘mortification’, about your recent actions does not seem a likely emotional pattern of behavior.

Pistorius waits for the ambulance. Quite a few people, after a loved one is dead, will be praying for them to be alive, often they will believe the person can be saved even in the direst situation. They could be holding the victim, trying and insisting the doctor and paramedics can save their loved one for some time. Some people have been known to try to rehabilitate for hours. Pistorius it seems, after prayer, gave quite up hope relatively quickly and accepted Steenkamp was gone. He had presence of mind to move around away from his partner and do other things; not really a sign of shock or continued grief.
It's not considered premeditated murder if it's reasonably possibly true that he believed that an armed intruder was about to shoot him and Reeva. That is putative self defense and could be the basis for culpable homicide but not intentional murder.

Hi, have been lurking on this forum for a while. I am an Australian lawyer though not a criminal lawyer. From what I have seen so far this is the crux of it, even if one presumes he is telling the truth about his version of events and that in itself is doubtful given witnesses hearing screaming. That is, is it reasonably possibly true that he believed an armed intruder was about to shoot him. I suggest that the answer to that is no on an objective test even taking into account the level of crime in SA. If he had waited with gun pointed until the intruder came out with a gun or knife perhaps, then shot him, that would give a reasonable possibility to such a belief but not otherwise.

Therefore whether the Judge accepts his version of events or not, to my mind he will be found guilty of intentional murder.
No worries. Nel may well bring the matter up yet.

I would think it more of a security risk perhaps on an open estate, and I think that's what the local bobby would be referring to.
Burglars are very much opportunists, a house with a broken window may be chosen over another, not because they can get in through the window, but because it could suggest to them you don't take security too seriously, so your house would be easier to burgle than the neighbours.

As OP lives within gated security, the burglars have to bypass the fingerprint recognition system at the gates, gate security, the laser alarms, the razor wire, the dogs and then all that's left is the patrolling security guards at regular intervals.
They'd have to get through all that to even know there was a hole in the window.


Exactly. given all of the above, why did he assume a noise from the toilet would be an intruder, overcoming all of the above, instead of the only other person locked inside the home with him.
I didn't know the double tap theory was crucial to anything.

I don't think the defense ever said that Reeva was shot in the head first or that they would prove that. They only concentrated on the fact that she could not scream after the head shot. I think all of the experts have agreed to that.

I just don't see how any of this testimony makes the states case stronger or more conclusive.
Listen to the below, starting at 35:40.

Oscar Pistorius Trial: Wednesday 19 March 2014, Session 1 - YouTube

Roux very clearly states "That is the version of the accused; it was two double taps." To call it OP's version of events and now withdraw it is a serious event in this case IMO.
The error in personae argument is a loser argument and Nel knows this.

Well, it's a clearly a clever lawyer tactic to secure the conviction they want in case they fail to prove their case. I think people are missing this.
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