Anyone who remembers the O.J. trial surely knew that the Pistorius trial was going to turn into a circus… and it has not disappointed. The verdict will come down on September 11th, and it comes down to this: Does the Judge believe Oscar’s version of what happened or does she believe the prosecution’s version of what happened?
Premeditated Murder: He knowingly intended to kill Reeva, or deliberately decided to kill an intruder. He would face a mandatory life sentence (25 years before he would be considered for parole)
Murder without Premeditation: He intended to kill, but without planning, in the heat of the moment. Sentencing is at the Judge’s discretion
Manslaughter (culpable homicide): He did not mean to kill Reeva, but acted recklessly or negligently in firing into the locked door
Discharging a Firearm in Public (first count): this relates to a January 2013 incident where he fired a gun in a restaurant
Discharging a Firearm in Public (second count): this relates to a November 2012 incident where he fired a gun through the sunroof of a car
Illegal Possession of Ammunition: this relates to Pistorius having possession of .38 ammunition without a permit. He told the court he was holding the bullets for his father “for safe-keeping”
Pistorius could enjoy five years in prison for each of the two gun charges and up to fifteen years in prison for the ammunition charge.
The Prosecution’s Version
The prosecution had messages read in court showing that Reeva was scared of Pistorius. For example:
I was not flirting with anyone today. I feel sick that you suggested that and that you made a scene at the table and made us leave early. I’m terribly disappointed in how the day ended and how you left me. We are living in a double standard relationship where you can be mad about how I deal with stuff when you are very quick to act cold and offish when you’re unhappy. Every 5 seconds I hear how you dated another chick. You really have dated a lot of people yet you get upset if I mention ONE funny story with a long term boyfriend. I do everything to make you happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with u. You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people. I have been upset by you for 2 days now. I’m so upset I left Darren’s party early. SO upset. I can’t get that day back. I’m scared of you sometimes and how u snap at me and of how you will react to me.
The prosecution also argued that the couple had been fighting on the night of the shooting. Four separate witnesses stated they heard a woman screaming that night. The prosecution also contends that nobody was sleeping the night of the shooting, and this was consistent with the contents of Reeva’s stomach, as identified in the post-mortem.
The prosecution claims that Pistorius knew Reeva was in the bathroom, got his gun and walked down the hall with the intention of shooting her. They contend that he aimed the weapon as he fired through the closed door. The bullets were in a “good grouping” and the prosecution stated that this was the case because he was speaking with Reeva before he shot her. They argued that if he was worried about an intruder, the bullets would not have been grouped so closely.
Finally, the prosecution argues that even if the Judge accepts Oscar’s version of the facts, he should still be convicted of murder since he went to the toilet door with a high-powered weapon and fired with the intention to kill.
Why Oscar Will Be Convicted of Premeditated Murder (IMO)
– Oscar claims that he screamed at the intruder to get out of his house as he moved toward the bathroom. He also stated that he screamed back to the bedroom for Reeva to call the police. However, he claims Reeva never made a sound in the toilet – he testified, “She would have perceived the danger was coming closer. She would have stayed quiet.” In other words, he claims she was too frightened throughout this entire sequence to make a sound. I find this to be somewhat incredulous.
– the messages between Reeva and Oscar showed that they argued and that she may have been scared of him. This would not be enough by itself. However, four separate witnesses also testified that they heard a woman screaming that night. This includes one neighbor who testified she was “petrified” after waking to a woman’s “terrifying screams.” There were “bloodcurdling” screams and then “bang, bang, bang, bang.” This is a much more reasonable explanation for me than Reeva being too frightened to make a sound, as she was about to be shot and killed.