In his closing argument, the lead prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial used a track and field analogy Thursday, saying Pistorius “dropped the baton” and should be convicted of premeditated murder.
In written remarks, prosecutors called Pistorius “one of the worst witnesses we have ever encountered” for his testimony in his own defense earlier in the trial.
Lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel repeated his view that the athlete tailored his version of events and used multiple defenses for shooting and killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, shot four times through a locked door in his Pretoria home bathroom on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, hitting Steenkamp inside.
Pistorius has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. Nel said Pistorius was lying, summarizing the prosecution’s case from a five-month trial initially scheduled for a three-week window.
“We have, if there’s no perceived intruder, the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, locking herself into her toilet,” Nel said. “We have the deceased, 3 o c’lock in the morning, taking her cell phone with her to the toilet. We have the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, standing upright, fully clothed, and shot four times. There’s no intruder. There’s no noises. That is our argument.”
Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If found not guilty of premeditated murder, he could be convicted of lesser charges, such as culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.
“He made up his mind in the bedroom when he armed himself,” Nel said. “That is preplanned. … Our argument is that the accused should be convicted on all accounts.”
The murder trial, initially slated for March 3-20, concluded its 40th day scattered among several breaks the last five months. Lead defense attorney Barry Roux began his closing argument, pointing out “material mistakes” made by the prosecution.
Roux is expected to conclude his closing argument Friday, after which judge Thokozile Masipa and her assessors will deliberate and come up with a verdict. The final ruling is expected to be preceded by a lengthy break, reportedly from one week to over a month.
Pistorius’ father, reportedly estranged from the runner, sat in the courtroom for the first time during the trial Thursday.
Pistorius’ older brother, Carl, spent Thursday intensive care unit and on a ventilator in a South African hospital after a car crash last week, the Pistorius family said in a statement.