PRETORIA, South Africa – Reeva Steenkamp was standing in a rest room cubicle and facing the closed door when she was hit in the appropriate hip by the primary of 4 hole level bullets fired at her by Oscar Pistorius, a police ballistics professional testified Wednesday on the double-amputee Olympic runner’s homicide trial.
Steenkamp then fell back onto a journal holder in the cubicle and was struck in the precise arm and head by the last two photographs fired by Pistorius along with his 9 mm pistol by the door. Pistorius’ girlfriend crossed her arms over her head to guard herself, Capt. Christiaan Mangena stated, when she was hit in the arm and head. He testified that he believed the second bullet shot missed Steenkamp and ricocheted off a wall inside the cubicle and broke into fragments, which prompted bruising on her again.
Mangena concluded by way of his analysis of the capturing scene and wounds on Steenkamp’s body from submit-mortem images that one of many final two bullets went by means of Steenkamp’s left hand before penetrating her skull as she held it over her head. The policeman stated he could not determine the order of the last two photographs.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s capturing dying on Feb. 14 final year and faces 25 years to life in jail if convicted. He says he shot Steenkamp, 29, by mistake through a locked door in his toilet as a result of he thought she was a harmful nighttime intruder.
Pistorius says Steenkamp went to make use of the bathroom during the night with out him knowing, but prosecutors maintain he killed her after a loud argument that caused her to possibly flee and hide in the bathroom space.
As Mangena threw his hands as much as cover his head in court docket and replicate the “defensive position” he stated Steenkamp took because the final pictures had been fired, Pistorius put his fingers in his ears in an apparent try to block out the testimony.
June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, additionally was in the courtroom and occasionally glanced at photos of the bloody scene of her daughter’s shooting earlier than looking away.
Police ballistics skilled Mangena said the bullet that struck Steenkamp’s skull broke into two fragments, one among which exited her head and struck the wall behind her. The primary shot into the appropriate hip broke Steenkamp’s hip bone, Mangena mentioned.
“I am of the opinion that after this wound was inflicted, my woman, she dropped instantly,” Mangena mentioned, addressing the judge in court docket beneath questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel. Steenkamp slumped into a “seated or semi-seated position” on high of the magazine rack within the cubicle, the place she was hit one other two occasions, he stated.
“She ended up with her head on top of the toilet seat, and the decrease part of her physique on the rack, Mangena mentioned.
Pistorius fired from a distance of at the least 60 centimeters and no additional than a wall behind him, about 3 meters away, Mangena said. Mangena also described the impact of the type of bullets in Pistorius’ gun, which have been designed to cause maximum damage, he said.
“It hits the goal, it opens up, it creates six talons, and these talons are sharp,” Mangena said. “It cuts by means of the organs of a human being.”
He famous the Black Talon model of ammunition was usually used for self-defense as a result of while it induced important damage to a human goal, it was less likely to penetrate the first goal and hit other people.
Pistorius lawyer Barry Roux cross-examined Mangena and said the defense’s own forensic and ballistic experts would problem the policeman’s testimony concerning the sequence of the shots. Roux also stated defense specialists had recovered a bullet and fragments from the bathroom bowl that police missed. Mangena said he was aware of that.
Mangena testified he conducted capturing checks to attempt to pinpoint the situation from which the bullets had been fired by Pistorius within the bathroom, primarily based on where cartridge cases were found. Nevertheless, in his exams, he said, the circumstances fell at different angles. He additionally noted that the cartridge instances at the scene of Steenkamp’s capturing may have been “moved or kicked round” during the investigation.
He said Pistorius was in all probability on his stumps when he fired, supporting the athlete’s assertion that he was not carrying his prosthetic limbs when he opened hearth.
Prosecutor Nel additionally requested Mangena to comment on a 2012 incident by which Pistorius allegedly fired his gun out of the sunroof of a shifting automotive. The athlete faces a firearms cost in that case, as well as two different firearms-associated prices.
Mangena mentioned firing a shot in such circumstances was dangerous.
The bullet leaves the barrel at around 280 meters (900 ft) a second, and can journey upward, then stop and fall to the ground below the drive of gravity and wind deflection, he mentioned.
“The bullet can still kill an individual,” Mangena mentioned.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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