Oscar Pistorius: Court excerpts from bail hearing
Associated Press February 19, 2013 2:50PM
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, left, stands as the judges leaves the court, during his bail application at the magistrate court, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where his girlfriend was cowering after a shouting match on Valentine's Day, hitting her three times, a South African prosecutor said Tuesday as he charged the sports icon with premeditated murder. The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law. He did not elaborate before a break was called in the session. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
PRETORIA, South Africa — The statements from Oscar Pistorius’ defense and the prosecution give conflicting accounts of what happened in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Feb. 14.
Excerpts from the affidavit made by Pistorius, and read out in court by senior defense lawyer Barry Roux, in a bail hearing Tuesday after the athlete was charged with premeditated murder for the killing of his model girlfriend:
“I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (“Reeva”). ... I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms. ...
“On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home. I agreed. ... By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.
“After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep. I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes ... I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night.
“During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realized that someone was in the bathroom. ... I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. ...
“I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.
“I grabbed my 9 mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed. I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realized that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. ...
“It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. ... As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. ...
“I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond ... Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding.
“When I reached the bed, I realized that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.
“I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. ... Reeva was slumped over but alive.
“I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander (“Stander”) who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. ... I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. ... I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms. ...
“I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them and that in due course I have no doubt the police and expert investigators will bear this out.”
Excerpts from the prosecution’s affidavit against Pistorius:
“The incident took place in the residence of the applicant (Pistorius) and we are confident that it will not be in dispute that (Pistorius) fired four shots, three of which hit the deceased and caused her death. She was unarmed and inside a toilet with the door closed. The applicant fired shots from outside the closed door of the toilet. ...
“There were two people in the house during the evening of 13-14 February 2013 — the applicant and the deceased, who were in a relationship. The deceased arrived between 1700 and 1800 on the 13th of February 2013 and planned to spend the night with the accused. An overnight bag was found in the main bedroom and a cosmetic bag in the bathroom (scene of crime). The deceased was shot three times whilst she was in the toilet behind a closed door.
“The bathroom and the toilet is about six meters (yards) from the main bedroom and upstairs from the main entrance and living area of the applicant’s house. A passage links the bathroom and bedroom. The house is situated in a security complex with 24-hour security available.
“The door to the toilet was broken open from the outside — the only reasonable inference being that it was locked and could not be opened. (Pistorius) gained access to the toilet and carried the deceased downstairs where he walked into security guards. The main door of the house was not locked. (Pistorius) told his sister that he thought it was a burglar. We argue that this was part of the pre-planning to use as a defense. Why would a burglar lock himself into a toilet? There may have been an argument earlier between (Pistorius) and the deceased. ...
“There is no possible explanation to support his report that he thought that it was a burglar. Even (in) his own version, he readied himself, walked to the bathroom with the clear intention and plan to kill the ‘burglar’ and did so whilst the burglar was harmless and contained in a toilet. This in itself also constitutes premeditated murder of a ‘defenseless burglar.’
“It is our respectful argument that ‘pre-planning’ or premeditation do not require months of planning — if ... I ready myself and walk a distance with the intention to kill someone, it is premeditated.”