Many Questions in “Blade Runner” Murder Case

In the last week, we learned about the tragic shooting and death of model Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend and Olympic track star Oscar Pistorious.  Steenkamp was a successful South African model and also was heading towards a legal career.  Oddly enough, Steenkamp was starring in a South African reality show that actually made its’ scheduled air date this past weekend.  Pistorious became internationally recognized during the Summer London 2012 Olympics.  Pistorious has two prosthetic legs and became the first Paralympic track star to run in the Olympics.  He became known as the “Blade Runner”.

Right now there are two conflicting stories about why Steenkamp was murdered.  Pistorious and his defense team contend that the middle of the night shooting occurred because he believed that there was an intruder in the bathroom of his home, not his girlfriend, who he ended up shooting by accident.  The prosecution contends however, that the murder was premeditated.  The prosecution’s case relies on the fact that bullet trajectory evidence shows that Pistorious aimed at the toilet, alleging that Pistorious knew Steenkamp was on the toilet, and intended to shoot her.

The defense disputes that there was an attempt to aim at the toilet, and Pistorious says that he believes Steenkamp headed to the bathroom when he went to close the balcony door in their bedroom in the middle of the night, unknowing of the fact that Steenkamp had slipped out of bed to go to the bathroom.

There remains much left to unfold, and this story is sure to remain in the headlines.  As of right now, Pistorious is trying to get out on bail.  With a premeditated murder charge however, South African law requires “exceptional circumstances” to allow release of the runner.  We will learn in the next day or so whether the court feels his evidence meets that threshold.

What do you think is the most important aspect of this case? How do you think the bail hearing will play out?

CNN

The Independent

Photo: NY Daily News

2 comments

  1. I question about bail is very tough; I can see it going either way. I don’t feel that Pistorius is a particularly high flight risk. But, given the prosecutions allegations, I can easily see him being remanded.

    To the question of what the most important aspect of the case is, I believe that motive is going to be paramount. I am curious to know what motive Pistorius could have had to murder is model girlfriend. I have not heard of anything this far that suggests that the two were going through a hard time. I think that without strong proof of a motive the prosecution will have a very difficult time in proving pre-meditated murder.

    Another issue in this case is going to be the sympathy that is likely to pervade the case. Oscar Pistorius is a South African hero, thus I think that the people of his country are going to be particularly bias in his favor. If I am right, then I suggest that there might be a serious inclination to find that Oscar is guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. Although South Africa does not have a jury system, the public opinion may seep into the court room via the judge nonetheless. Even judges have feelings. Admittedly, though, the fact that there will be no jury to effectively nullify the conviction means that this case will not be South Africa’s version of the OJ Simpson case.

  2. I found this case to be incredibly interesting and the outcome is going to be very clear in my mind. Because of the terrible job of the detectives and police department, there will be enough doubt as to what actually happened that night that they will not be able to prove that he intended to murder his girlfriend. This case bears an incredible similarity to the OJ Simpson case where the prosecution wants to convict him so badly that they are pushing a little too hard for the knockout blow.

    First, the “star witness” who heard screams and yelling before the shooting was an absurd distance away from the location to be considered a credible source. Second, the lead detective has already been removed from the case and has botched the investigation in the minds of many. While Pistorious’ alibi and story may seem outlandish, the fact remains that it is still plausible and, along with his demeanor, has been consistent throughout the process.

    Like Rocky mentioned, there is no jury trial in this case, but I think that there were enough mistakes made that the judge will have no choice but to find him not guilty, or at least guilty without intent to kill.

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