Oscar Pistorius Brings in American Forensics Team

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In a move that spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess says is a "very standard practice",Oscar Pistorius, the first Paralympic athlete to compete in the Olympics, has called upon a team of American forensics experts to assist in his trial for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

On Valentine's Day this year, Pistorius shot Steenkamp 3 times, in the head, arm, and hip, supposedly believing that she was a dangerous intruder.

Pistorius is set to begin his trial in March of next year. If convicted, Pistorius faces a life sentence, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison.

South African prosecutors and police are fairly confident in their claim that Pistorius committed premeditated murder. Officials spent 6 months investigating the murder before they filed charges against Pistorius. Prosecutors are relying on the fact that witnesses attest to hearing a woman scream before the bullets were fired, suggesting that she knew Pistorius was coming after her and eliminating Pistorius's defense that he was firing at an intruder.

Pistorius's defense is hoping to prove that Pistorius did not have his prosthetic legs on when he shot Steenkamp, insinuating that the murder was not premeditated. However, the job for the defense is huge considering the state has 107 witnesses, 20 of which are forensics experts, and conducted a 6 month long investigation.

The American forensics experts will have certain key pieces of evidence to look at, with the main one being the bathroom door. If the defense can prove that Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetics based on the angles of the bullet entries, and if they can lead the jury to believe that Pistorius used the cricket bat to knock down the door in an attempt to save his girlfriend, Pistorius might have a chance at a reduced sentence.

In the meantime, Pistorius will seemingly continue to train. However, his spokeswoman has reported that Oscar is still taking the trial seriously: "Oscar is preparing for the trial. That's the focus and that's the focus of everybody around him, too."

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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