Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Trial / Did He Murder Reeva Steenkamp? / Probably

Most of the information we receive about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial is undoubtedly filtered through American media channels.  It is, nonetheless, an interesting murder, investigation and trial.  Pistorius, a double amputee, known to most of the public as the Blade Runner, stands accused of First Degree Murder in a South African courtroom.  The victim was his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  Pistorius is currently testifying on his own behalf regarding the circumstances surrounding the night he shot his girlfriend in a bathroom stall.  I won’t try to reiterate the evidence presented and Pistorius’ testimony.  If you’re reading this, you are probably fairly familiar with the trial.

Regarding Pistorius’ courtroom demeanor, I’ve never seen or heard anything comparable.  He has cried, wailed, vomited, agonized, and carried on like no other.

We are either seeing extreme remorse or a potential academy award worthy performance.  It makes one wonder if Pistorius is now, and was previously, a little unstable mentally.  A condition that would have likely contributed to the shooting.

In South Africa, there is no jury.  There is a judge and two ‘assessors’ that assist the judge.  They make the decision.  In a trial like this, with all the drama and involving an iconic South African celebrity, I think the South African system would be more likely than our jury system to arrive at a just verdict.  An American jury might be swayed by Pistorius’ overwrought testimony, but for an experienced, impartial judge that is doubtful.

Based on what I’ve heard of the evidence, I think he will be convicted.  However, the judge may reduce the charge to something less than ‘premeditated.’  Perhaps, murder in the second degree – if they have such a crime.  Murder probably, but murder that occurred during a violent rage without premeditation.

If convicted of anything less, I would wonder if the judge was influenced by the defendant’s popularity in South Africa.  We’ll see what happens.  Apparently, the judge will be required to set forth a detailed analysis of how she arrived at her decision.

True Nelson

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