Oscar Pistorius Breaks Down During Cross-ExaminationBy: Toni Matthews-El - April 14, 2014
“You’re tailoring your version as you’re sitting there,” said Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Nel has been grilling Oscar Pistorius for days in an unrelenting mission to expose the defendant as a liar and a murderer.
The cross-examination portion of the South African murder trial has been hotly anticipated for weeks.
The anticipation of global spectators reached a fever pitch following Pistorius’s initial testimony.
The 27-year-old fleshed out a version of events on the stand that was noticeably meatier than his previous statements about the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius has maintained that the February 14th, 2013 shooting was accidental and that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
During the opening weeks of the trial, the prosecution presented a great deal of evidence and witness testimony meant to seriously undermine the athlete’s story.
His allegedly leaving Steenkamp to sleep while he approached what he thought was an intruder seemed to deviate from previous behaviors.
The prosecution also worked hard to imply Pistorius had an obsession with guns, possessed a hair-trigger temper, and that he had previously demonstrated reckless behavior around weapons.
Once on the stand, Pistorius seem to detail his version of events more closely to the prosecution’s evidence than to his original statements. In the minds of prosecutors, Pistorious was working to directly answer the evidence rather than stick to his original version of events.
Pistorius testified that he went back to the bedroom to ask Steenkamp to call police and get his gun. This directly contradicts an earlier statement that he thought his girlfriend was in bed and asleep.
Pistorius also emphasized that he was shouting for Steenkamp to call the police, which Prosecutor Nel pointed out conflicted with his earlier statement that he spoke in a “low voice”.
When the prosecutor asked Pistorius why his testimony was so much more detailed than the version of events he gave at his bail statement, the athlete answered that he had been on medication and was still traumatized by what had happened.
Oscar Pistorius broke down in sobs during two portions of the cross-examination, leading Judge Thokozile Masipa to twice call for an adjournment.
After four days of cross-examination, it’s uncertain if an emotional Pistorius has successfully conveyed his innocence on the stand.
The fact that his testimony seemed to answer the prosecution’s evidence rather than stay true to his bail statement could work against him.
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