Oscar Pistorius has endured a lengthy, difficult trial for the past several weeks, and after a two-week recess, proceedings began again on Monday with a neighbor testifying that the deadly shooting which took Pistorius' girlfriend's life was an accident.
Pistorius hasn't wavered from his original story since the shooting on Valentine's Day of 2013, when he fired a gun four times through the closed bathroom door in his home, thinking an intruder was inside. It was the middle of the night, he said, and when he heard noises inside he didn't check to see if his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was still in bed. The Paralympic athlete says he has owned a gun for years, concerned for his safety in the high-crime area of South Africa where he makes his home.
“I spoke to him at his house and when we went upstairs to his bedroom so that our photographer could take photos of his running blades, that was when I saw the weapons,” said writer Jonathan McEvoy of a 2011 visit to Pistorius' home. “There was the pistol by the bed, the machine gun up against the wall, the baseball bat under the window, a cricket bat too. He was concerned by safety and security to a high level, there was no doubt about that.”
Pistorius--also known as "Blade Runner" due to his high-tech prosthetics--has broken down several times in court during cross-examination, particularly when shown photos from the crime scene. According to neighbor Johan Stander, Pistorius was horrified when he placed a call right after the shootings, asking Stander to come help him.
"He (Pistorius) said on the call, 'Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva,"' Stander said in court. "'I thought she was in an intruder. Please come quick.' It's not something I would like to experience again, my lady. Because that young man walking down the stairs with the lady, with a young woman. His face. The expression of pain, the expression of sorrow. And he's crying."
Judge Thokozile Masipa will reportedly go through thousands of pages of testimony and evidence before reaching a final decision.
Image via Wikimedia Commons