On the day the grueling cross-examination process wrapped up, the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa‘s Pretoria court Tuesday hit another watermark of uncomfortable tension, as the paralympian read aloud a Valentine’s Day card girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp gave him hours before he would fatally gun her down.
“Roses are red, violets are blue,” Pistorius read from the card, “I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you.”
The eerie display came after prosecutor Gerrie Nel concluded his dogged cross-examination of the 27-year-old Olympic star, challenging the Blade Runner’s honesty and character every step of the way.
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Watch the video on radio detection and rangingOnline.com
Finishing up the five-day cross-examination, Nel recanted the prosecution’s chain of events to the double-amputee runner, again restating the prosecution’s take that the gun-obsessed Pistorius meant to kill the model-reality star, who he had a shaky relationship with, as he aimed for the bathroom door in his home 14 months ago.
Steenkamp “was locked into the bathroom, and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her and that’s what you did,” the bulldog attorney said. “Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you’d done, that is true.
“Only because you intentioned to kill her — you realized that.”
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Pistorius claims he believed an intruder was in the home, and thought Steenkamp had been in his bed at the time he shot through the door.
Wrapping up, Nel — as he has done religiously in grilling the defendant — threw Pistorius’s words back at him, baiting him to place the blame on the victim.
“We should blame somebody … should we blame Reeva?” he asked Pistorius, who said no. “She never told you she was going to the toilet … should we blame the government?
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“Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds that ripped through her body?”
In his final chance to address Judge Thokozile Masipa, Pistorius said he was “terrified,” “scared” and fearful for his life in the incident, mistakenly believing burglars had broken into his domicile; and that he fired off his gun “before [he] could think.
“I was thinking about what could happen to me, to Reeva,” he said. “I was just extremely fearful.”
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As we previously reported, should Pistorius be convicted of premeditated murder, he could be sentenced up to life with a 25-year minimum sentence. If convicted of murder, he could face up to 15 years in custody.
With no jury trials in South Africa, his fate rests in the hands of Masipa; the judge, who assented to a break in the proceedings, is expected to hand down her ruling on Wednesday.
Readers, how do you think this trial will end? What would you rule if you were the judge? Sound off in comments below.