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Oscar Pistorius trial winding down with closing arguments

During Thursday's closing arguments, the prosecution challenged Oscar Pistorius' version of events the night his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot to death on February 14, 2013, calling his version of events a "farce."
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 7, 2014 at 5:51 PM   |   Comments

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PRETORIA, South Africa, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The murder trial of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius entered the closing arguments phase on Thursday.

Prosecutors reiterated their belief that Pistorius "pre-planned" the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

She was found shot to death in his home on February 14, 2013. Pistorius, a double amputee, maintains that he mistook her for a burglar in the bathroom of his residence.

The defense argued during the trial that Pistorius had suffered a "traumatic assault" when his legs were amputated and on the night of the shooting he felt vulnerable because he was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he thought a burglar had broken into his house. A psychiatrist testified that Pistorius and his siblings were raised by their mother "to see their external environment as threatening," an upbringing that "added to the anxiety."

Gerri Nel, a prosecutor nicknamed "bulldog," focused his closing arguments on Pistorius' inconsistent, "vague," and "argumentative" testimony throughout the trial, insisting "The accused's evidence is completely devoid of truth."

"His mendacity was striking... He was more concerned with defending for his life than entrusting the court with a truthful account of that morning."

Nel questioned the defense's assertion that the woman's scream heard by neighbors was in fact Pistrorius, and noted that the defense never followed through on their promise to prove Pistorius "screams like a woman."

The prosecution cast doubt on the Olympian having "anxiety on call" to explain his actions that night and challenged the defense team's self-defense argument.

"Even in his own version, he stood in front of the door ... and fired shots with intention to kill... The intention was to shoot a person in that bathroom."

Due to time constraints, the defense was only able to begin its closing arguments on Thursday and is expected to continue its closing on Friday.

Pistorius has admitted he shot Steenkamp but maintains that he mistook her for a burglar in the bathroom of his residence.

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