A prosecutor hammered at Oscar Pistorius' credibility at his murder trial Thursday, asserting that the star athlete had a string of unlikely excuses for why he wasn't to blame in the three gun charges he faces on top of murder.
The Associated Press
PRETORIA, South Africa — A prosecutor hammered at Oscar Pistorius' credibility at his murder trial Thursday, asserting that the star athlete had a string of unlikely excuses for why he wasn't to blame in the three gun charges he faces on top of murder.
In casting doubt on the Olympian's honesty while cross-examining him, prosecutor Gerrie Nel was pushing the prosecution's argument that Pistorius is also lying about killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year.
In the final hour of the day's proceedings, Nel said Pistorius was trying to imply that police had tampered with the scene, moving evidence around, and that Steenkamp fled from the bedroom after an argument with the athlete.
"The deceased ran screaming from there," the prosecutor said. Pistorius' version of events, he said, does not match physical evidence at the scene — Pistorius' home — and was not "reasonably possible."
Nel asserted that the double-amputee Paralympic champion wouldn't "accept responsibility for anything" and reacted incredulously to Pistorius' explanation of why a gun he was handling went off under a table in a packed restaurant, for which he was charged with firing a gun in public without good reason.
Pistorius said a friend's pistol, a Glock, went off while he was holding it but insisted that he hadn't pulled the trigger. A police expert testified earlier at the trial that the Glock couldn't be fired without the trigger being pulled.
Nel said: "We have you in possession of the gun, a shot went off, but you didn't discharge the gun? ... I'm putting it to you, you fired that gun. There is no other way," Nel said. "You are lying."
"I respect Mr. Nel's comment," Pistorius replied, "but I didn't pull the trigger on that firearm."
The incident in a trendy Johannesburg restaurant happened just weeks before he shot to death Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013.
Pistorius also said two witnesses, a former girlfriend and a friend, were both lying about an incident in 2012 when the runner is alleged to have fired his gun out the sunroof of a moving car. He has been charged with a firearms violation in this incident.
Pistorius said he wasn't guilty of yet another charge against him, illegal possession of ammunition for .38-caliber ammunition found in a safe in his home after he killed Steenkamp.
Pistorius said his estranged father had put the bullets into the safe and that they belonged to the father. But Nel said Pistorius' father Henke had "refused" to make a statement to police on the ammunition being his.
"You just don't want to accept responsibility for anything," Nel said to Pistorius. Pistorius' answers to the accusations were short denials.
Pistorius, 27, says Steenkamp's death was a terrible accident after he mistook her for an intruder and fired four times with his licensed 9 mm pistol through a toilet door and into a cubicle. Prosecutors say he intended to kill the 29-year-old after a loud argument heard by witnesses and charged him with premeditated murder — for which he faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.