PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Prosecutors in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial insisted in closing arguments Thursday that the double-amputee Olympian produced a succession of lies to cover up that he intentionally killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after a fight.
In a 109-page document detailing their entire case, prosecutors listed what they called 13 instances of “incongruities, deceit and tailoring” by the runner in his attempt to explain he fatally shot Steenkamp through a toilet door because he thought she was an intruder. Pistorius faces going to prison for 25 years to life if convicted of premeditated murder. His lawyers will present their closing arguments on Friday.
Here’s a look at some of the points the prosecutors argue reveal Pistorius’ lies:
PITCH BLACK IN THE BEDROOM?
Pistorius maintained that it was so dark in his bedroom in the pre-dawn hours that he was unable to see that Steenkamp was not in the bed just before the shooting. But trying to explain the position of the duvet during his testimony, Pistorius said that he knew it was on the bed because he could see a silhouette of its outline. “Either it was pitch black and he could see nothing, or he could see because it was not pitch black,” the prosecution said.
SPOKE TO STEENKAMP
Prosecutors say Pistorius added a detail in later affidavits, saying he briefly spoke to Steenkamp after he woke up in the middle of the night, as part of his “tailoring” of the story. Speaking to Steenkamp would show why he thought she was still in bed when he walked to the bathroom and fired the shots. The detail was not included in the athlete’s bail affidavit last year but was in his pre-trial plea documents. Nel said it was “inconceivable” that Pistorius initially failed to mention that he briefly spoke to Steenkamp after he woke up.
THE BALCONY FANS
Pistorius has said that he brought two fans in from a balcony before hearing a noise that made him think an intruder was in the bathroom, but crime scene photographs show the fans were not in the position he said they were in after he brought them in. Nel said Pistorius made up the fans story to show his attention was diverted and he didn’t know Steenkamp had gone to the bathroom. “He had to create time for the deceased to go to the toilet,” he said.
Pistorius blamed police tampering for the position of the fans, as well as the location of a duvet, and a pair of Steenkamp’s jeans, which also didn’t match his story. In blaming their position on investigators, prosecutor Nel said Pistorius’ version became “a farce.” For police to tamper with the objects, they would have had to move the fan, pick up the duvet and jeans, and then replace them the other way around with the jeans partly on top of the duvet, as they were found, Nel said. Chief defense lawyer Barry Roux said he would show how the items had been moved by police on Friday.
THE HOUSE ALARM
Pistorius says he deactivated his house alarm — which didn’t go off at any time during the night — before he carried Steenkamp downstairs to get help. The prosecutors question why he would do that if he had just shot his girlfriend in the head by mistake? “Triggering the alarm would have been advantageous in the situation,” prosecutors argued, as it would have brought help quicker. They say Pistorius could also be lying about deactivating the alarm after the shooting, saying it may never have been activated in the first place if the couple were awake and fighting into the early hours.
Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
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