The Reeva Steenkamp murder trial resumed on Monday following a two week recess.
A lengthy testimony by defendant Oscar Pistorius preceded the break. His turn on the stand was perceived by some onlookers as utterly disastrous for the defense.
The 27-year-old athlete claimed that in the early hours of February 14th, 2013, he shot what he thought was a dangerous intruder. Instead Pistorius learned that he accidentally killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The prosecution has countered that it was not an accidental killing, but an act of murder following a heated argument.
The momentum was largely with the prosecution prior to the break. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel worked hard to both establish Pistorius as a paranoid and irresponsible gun owner and a man with a hair-trigger temper.
Oscar Pistorius back in court as Reeva Steenkamp murder trial resumes http://t.co/DrBd0UJhSd pic.twitter.com/FfhB3zd8xa
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 5, 2014
The prosecution presented witnesses that suggested that Steenkamp’s screams could be heard as she was being murdered.
Today, the defense presented witness testimony by neighbors who were asked to the scene immediately after Pistorius shot Steenkamp.
Neighbor Johan Stander said that the athlete called him within minutes of shooting his girlfriend.
Stander claimed that Pistorius begged him to come over and help him because he’d accidentally shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.
Oscar Pistorius' neighbour tells court she feared he would kill himself with the gun used to shoot Reeva Steenkamp http://t.co/i2sIdYT0Dk
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) May 5, 2014
Oscar Pistorius murder trial update: Witness says Olympian was "asking God to help" after shooting Reeva Steenkamp http://t.co/i0jhdzWuM4
— People magazine (@peoplemag) May 5, 2014
“‘I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I feel it,” said Stander. The neighbor believed that Pistorius accidentally killed Steenkamp based on his words and behavior that morning.
Stander and his daughter Carice Viljoen saw his reaction to shooting Steenkamp, describing him as “broken” and “desperate” for his girlfriend not to die. Viljoen testified that Pistorius begged her to help get Steenkamp to the hospital.
Pistorius witness: 'He was broken. He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying' http://t.co/kqfcRSip8i pic.twitter.com/VPITbMuDfx
— The Independent (@Independent) May 5, 2014
Nel suggested on cross-examination that Stander was merely trying to cover for his good friend.
Stander and Viljoen were the fourth and fifth defense witnesses to be called to the stand. The court was adjourned following their testimonies because there were no other defense witnesses present.
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