Thu, Apr 17, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Oscar Pistorius’ defense take over in murder trial

AP, PRETORIA

However, Du Toit said the defense, which plans to call up to 17 witnesses, could still make it hard for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder, which carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison. Du Toit said he was not convinced that the prosecution had shown that he intended to kill, adding that Pistorius fired roughly level with Steenkamp’s mid-section. Prosecution witnesses said the first bullet likely struck her in the hip.

“If you wanted to kill someone, you would shoot in the chest or the head,” Du Toit said, adding that it was “not all lost” for Pistorius even though the defense has a lot of hard work to do.

That work started right after Pistorius finished testifying. Roux, the defense lawyer, had the runner read out a Valentine’s Day card from Steenkamp that she allegedly brought him just before he killed her. In it, she tells Pistorius that she loves him.

Roux then called forensic expert and former police officer Roger Dixon, who contradicted parts of the prosecution’s case. Dixon said he conducted tests in Pistorius’ bedroom that proved it was very dark there at night, supporting Pistorius’ statement that he could not see Steenkamp in his bedroom on the night he killed her, and describing some aspects of the police investigation as “unprofessional.”

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