The prosthetic leg Oscar Pistorius said he used to kick at his locked bathroom door after he fatally shot his girlfriend last year was held and inspected by a forensic analyst at the athlete’s murder trial Thursday.
Forensic analyst Roger Dixon was testifying about varnish and sock fibers from when Pistorius kicked the door on Valentine’s Day 2013 when lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel had Dixon handle the prosthetic leg with a sock over the foot.
Dixon, who had never seen the prosthetic leg outside photographs, peeled off the sock. It was not the original sock Pistorius had on when he kicked the door.
He held the leg at the ankle, foot facing up, and compared a mark on the bottom of the foot to a mark on the door, which stood a few feet from Dixon in the witness box. Dixon continued holding the leg and then placed it on the ledge in front of him as he answered questions for nearly another hour.
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot through a locked bathroom door, hitting her four times on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013. The prosecution asserts he knowingly shot Steenkamp after an argument.
If not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.
The trial is now on break until May 5, though Judge Thokozile Masipa stressed at the end of Thursday’s session that more daily hours must be put in once it resumes. The trial is scheduled to last to mid-May. The defense could still call 14 more witnesses.
Masipa also issued a warning at the beginning of Thursday’s session.
“Something disturbing has come to my attention,” she said. “I believe the people in [the overflow room] are unruly. They climb on top of the benches. They cheer. They boo. They do what they like. I just want to remind them [the overflow room] is an extension of this court. You behave as well as the people in this court.”
Dixon also testified Thursday that one of the four fired bullets hit Steenkamp in the head as she was falling to the floor in the bathroom.
Pistorius hunched over and held his hands over his ears during testimony about Steenkamp’s wounds, as he has often in the first 25 days of the trial.
Dixon, whose credentials were disputed by Nel in questioning the last two days, said he’s been getting hate mail about the trial.