Trial delayed as Pistorius expected to testify

PRETORIA, South Africa – The homicide trial of Oscar Pistorius has been delayed until April 7 because one of the authorized consultants who will help the decide in reaching a verdict is sick, the decide said Friday.

Oscar Pistorius
The decide within the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has delayed proceedings until April 7.

Decide Thokozile Masipa announced the delay in court docket, abruptly ending expectations that the double-amputee runner was about to testify about his fatal capturing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last 12 months.

"One among my assessors just isn't nicely, so this court docket is not correctly constituted," Masipa stated. "I counsel that we postpone this matter until the seventh of April."

Masipa has two assessors who sit on either side of her within the courtroom. South Africa does not have a jury system, and Masipa will deliver a verdict.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated homicide for killing Steenkamp.

Protection legal professionals have been because of start their case Friday after 4 weeks of prosecution-led testimony.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp accidentally, mistaking her for an intruder in his residence and opening hearth by a closed bathroom door in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Prosecutors say he killed her after an argument.


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Pistorius trial: Expert describes cell usage

PRETORIA, South Africa – Reeva Steenkamp related to the Internet on her cellular phone hours before Oscar Pistorius killed her, and the connection was nonetheless working mechanically hours after her death, an skilled from the South African police testified Tuesday at the athlete’s murder trial.

Capt. Francois Moller, who downloaded information from the cell telephones of each Pistorius and his girlfriend, said Steenkamp made an Internet connection just before 9 p.m. on Feb. thirteen, 2013, and the connection lasted for more than eleven hours, presumably because social media applications have been nonetheless open. Pistorius fatally shot her about six hours later via a closed toilet door in his house.

“If an utility shouldn’t be closed, it can keep it up working,” Moller stated.

Protection lawyer Barry Roux also indicated that Steenkamp’s phone could not have been manually utilized by anybody for your entire interval cited by Moller, saying: “It does not mean that it’s human interplay.”

Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp in his dwelling the early hours of Valentine’s Day, and Moller’s extraction of information also shed light on what appeared to be a frantic collection of phone calls created from considered one of Pistorius’ cellular telephones after the killing. They embrace a call to the administrator of the housing property the place Pistorius lived at 3:19 a.m. on Feb. 14, a call a minute later to an ambulance service and a name a minute after that to the housing property safety.

The telephone that was used for those and different calls was only handed over to police 11 days later, Moller stated.

Moller stated says he obtained more than 1,000 message exchanges between Pistorius and Steenkamp on their phones. Moller stated he acquired as evidence two BlackBerry telephones, two iPhones, two iPads and a Mac computer from Pistorius’ home the day after Steenkamp was shot to demise

Prosecutors allege Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument. Pistorius says he killed her by chance, mistaking her for an intruder in his home.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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Pistorius neighbor heard ‘terrified’ screams

PRETORIA, South Africa – A neighbor of Oscar Pistorius testified at his murder trial on Monday that she heard gunshots as well as screams from each a man and a woman on the evening that the double-amputee runner fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The testimony by Anette Stipp matched some of the testimony by different witnesses who’ve mentioned additionally they heard a lady screaming around the time that Pistorius killed Steenkamp earlier than dawn on Feb. 14, 2013.

The protection has countered that the neighbors were actually hearing Pistorius screaming in a excessive-pitched voice after he shot Steenkamp, a 29-12 months-outdated mannequin. Pistorius has mentioned he shot his girlfriend by mistake via a locked rest room door, pondering that she was an intruder in his home.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel opened Monday’s courtroom session by noting evidence will embrace evaluation of mobile telephones, together with two that had been faraway from the bathroom where the taking pictures occurred.

Investigators had been chasing information on Pistorius’ locked iPhone for months and met Apple officers within the United States simply before the trial started on March three. Pistorius has mentioned he forgot the password to his telephone.

Stipp, the neighbor, stated underneath questioning from Nel that she heard gunshots while mendacity awake round three a.m. on the night of the capturing, after which heard the “terrified, terrified” screams of a lady.

“The screaming at that stage just continued,” said Stipp, who recalled looking out from a balcony at two homes with lights on in the gated property where her household and Pistorius lived.

She stated she instructed her husband Johan, who previously testified, that the screaming sounded as though a “household murder” had taken place.

“There was undoubtedly a feminine screaming for fairly a period,” Anette Stipp said. “You can undoubtedly hear two totally different voices.”

She stated she then heard a second set of pictures, and the screaming stopped.

The defense has stated that Pistorius fired into the door and then battered the door with a cricket bat to get to Steenkamp after realizing she was inside the toilet cubicle. Roux insists that some neighbors who testified mistook the sound of the cricket bat hanging the door for gunshots.

Defense lawer Kenneth Oldwadge pressed Anette Stipp on her recollections of that night time, questioning whether or not she was inside her house or on a balcony while hearing what she stated were photographs and screams, and whether or not she was alert because she had stated she was slightly sick at the time.

Nel has stated he will wrap up his case towards Pistorius this week after calling four or 5 more witnesses to support his rivalry that the Olympian intentionally killed Steenkamp after an argument. The protection will then current its case.

Judicial officers say the trial will continue until Could sixteen, with a recess in April.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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Expert: Pistorius’ girlfriend standing when shot

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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Defense alleges police errors in Pistorius trial

PRETORIA, South Africa – Police pictures of the blood-spattered scene the place Oscar Pistorius shot lifeless his girlfriend indicate that proof was moved round in violation of process in the course of the investigation of the killing, the athlete's chief defense lawyer stated Tuesday.

Warrant officer Bennie van Staden, a police photographer, took hundreds of images of the scene, together with of blood stains, bullet casings, a gun and a cricket bat found inside Pistorius' bathroom in the hours after the double-amputee Olympic runner shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp before daybreak on Feb. 14 last 12 months.

Lawyer Barry Roux has challenged previous police witnesses, searching for to uncover contradictions and reported mishaps to help his argument that officers bungled the investigation, an allegation made by Pistorius in the beginning of the trial when he pleaded not responsible to homicide in Steenkamp's killing.

In a generally painstaking process Tuesday, Roux minutely examined many photographs taken by van Staden and another police officer and identified that objects on the crime scene had been moved and were in several positions in photographs. Roux additionally used time of day information on the images to point out that the two policemen taking photographs have been in the same room at factors, although van Staden testified he was working alone.

Roux compared images of the bloody bathroom scene taken by van Staden with photos in the bathroom taken by another policeman, recognized as a Col. Motha. Each have been within the lavatory at the moment, in response to the instances shown on the photographs.

"You did not see Col. Motha?" Roux asked van Staden, who replied he didn't.

"How big is that this toilet?" Roux said.

Possibly missing the hint of sarcasm in Roux's query, van Staden mentioned the toilet was roughly 4 meters by four meters.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, 29. He denies murder and says he shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder in a bathroom cubicle in the rest room, and says that he struck the toilet door with a cricket bat to get to Steenkamp after realizing what he had achieved.

Prosecutors cost that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after an argument.

Pistorius' lawyer additionally requested van Staden to explain variations in images of the 9 mm pistol that Pistorius used to shoot Steenkamp by a closed bathroom door, and of a cricket bat that the Paralympian used to hit the door.

"It appears there was motion of the bat" within the interval between two pictures taken by van Staden, Roux stated.

"It looks like that," van Staden conceded.

The police photographer also acknowledged that two images of the gun indicated that a mat underneath it might have been shifted. Roux stated one photograph additionally differed from the other as a result of it confirmed a wooden splinter on the gun handle.

Two other photographs of objects on the bedroom ground subsequent to Pistorius' bed confirmed tissues, what was recognized as a CD or disc and a distant management have been in different positions. Van Staden said he didn't know who moved them, but he remembered the disc was previously below the mattress.

"How does it happen that there's such an awesome disturbance of that scene?" Roux requested.

Roux was trying to construct a picture of a cluttered and confused crime scene with many officers engaged on it and presumably contaminating the proof.

Van Staden has stated he also took nine photographs of Pistorius soon after the taking pictures, with the athlete seen in a number of the photos standing in blood-stained prosthetic legs and carrying blood-soaked shorts within the storage of his residence.

Van Staden's testimony on Tuesday was delayed by over an hour to present the policeman time to gather photograph records and discs at the defense's request. Van Staden had stated he must retrieve photo information from office administration, but then stated Tuesday he had forgotten that he was really in possession of the grasp copies of the shooting scene images.


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Pistorius photographed in bloodied prosthetics

PRETORIA, South Africa – Police images of Oscar Pistorius standing on his bloodstained prosthetic legs and carrying shorts covered in blood, taken shortly after the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend, were shown to the court docket at his murder trial Friday.

Prosecutors displayed two photos on TV displays within the courtroom. In a single, the Olympic athlete, who is shirtless, is standing facing the digital camera wearing his prosthetics. There are bloodstains as much as the knees of his limbs and his shorts are also bloodied, however his chest appears to be clean of blood.

A second photograph shows Pistorius from the waist up and from the left facet, also with blood evident on his shorts and components of his physique. The images were taken in the storage of the Paralympian's Pretoria house, a former policeman testified. Pistorius is charged with homicide within the killing of Reeva Steenkamp inside the house in the early hours of Valentine's Day last yr.

Former police colonel G.S. van Rensburg described the early part of the police investigation into the capturing following his arrival at the scene about 30 to forty minutes after prosecutors say Pistorius killed Steenkamp.

The prosecution says Pistorius intentionally killed Steenkamp in an upstairs toilet after a loud argument and then tried to cowl it up by saying he thought the 29-year-old mannequin was an intruder. Pistorius, 27, maintains the killing was unintended and has pleaded not guilty to all prices against him.

Van Rensburg, the previous commander at a police station near Pistorius' home, said he didn't arrest Pistorius immediately after discovering Steenkamp had been shot useless, but did warn him to remain at the house.

"I informed him I noticed him as a suspect at that stage," van Rensburg stated. "I warned him of his rights. I stated to him I wasn't arresting him at that stage… I requested him to remain current at all times on the scene."

He did not describe Pistorius' reactions intimately but mentioned that the runner's brother, Carl, sister, Aimee, and a lawyer arrived on the house.

Van Rensburg also mentioned that, at one point in the course of the investigation, he turned around within the bathroom to see that the firearms expert had handled the gun used in the capturing and taken the journal out of the weapon with out utilizing gloves.

"I asked him, 'What are you doing?'" van Rensburg testified. The officer realized his error, apologized, put the magazine back within the gun and laid it on the mat the place it was on the ground, van Rensburg mentioned. He then took the gloves out of his chest pocket, and once more picked up the gun, in accordance with van Rensburg. "I was very angry," he mentioned.

Van Rensburg also testified Friday that one in all Pistorius' watches was apparently stolen from the crime scene that night time. About eight costly watches had been found in a blood-spattered box in Pistorius' bedroom upstairs, mentioned van Rensburg, who additionally stated that he warned fellow officers the watches must be observed carefully as a result of they may very well be tempting to anyone moving through the crime scene.

Pistorius' sister asked whether or not she may take one of the watches, leaving seven in place, he stated. However van Rensburg stated another watch went missing while he was out of the room, prompting him to order the frisking of all the police forensic specialists on the scene, as well as a search of their luggage and autos, and your complete house.

Van Rensburg, who recalled that one of the officers had estimated the cost of one watch at near $10,000, said he then opened a case of theft after the watch was not found.

Later, he stated, Pistorius' brother requested whether or not he could take the watches. Van Rensburg stated he would as a substitute hand the watches directly to Oscar Pistorius, however with out the box, which was still being analyzed. Whereas doing so, he requested Pistorius to tell him if anything went missing, however nothing else was reported stolen.

On Thursday, photographs of bloodstains on the partitions, flooring and furniture in Pistorius' house had been displayed in court, prompting Pistorius to look away from TELEVISION displays showing the pictures. The screen in front of Pistorius was switched off Thursday and remained off for the testimony Friday morning.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run at the Olympics, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of homicide in Steenkamp's killing.