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Prosecutor says Pistorius can’t dodge murder charge

The parents of late model and paralegal Reeva Steenkamp attend the first of two days of concluding arguments at the Pretoria High Court on August 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MUJAHID SAFODIEN

PRETORIA: A South African prosecutor branded Oscar Pistorius “deceitful” and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his glamorous model girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him Thursday.

“Pitbull” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that even if the court accepts Pistorius’ claim he killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year believing she was an intruder, “he cannot escape” a conviction for murdering with intent.

Ending the first of two days of concluding arguments in the gripping five-month murder trial, Nel said Pistorius’ efforts to concoct an alibi had led to a “snowball effect” of lies requiring more lies to back them up. “In an attempt to tailor his version to support his plea explanation, he tangled himself in a web.”

Summing up the state’s meticulous 200-page review of evidence gleaned from almost 40 witnesses, Nel said Pistorius, 27, was guilty of “a baker’s dozen” of misleading statements.

Nel also pointed to state experts’ testimony that Steenkamp had food in her stomach when she died and that neighbors heard a woman screaming to show the star sprinter was lying.

But, he said, even if Judge Thokozile Masipa believes Pistorius’ claim that he accidentally shot at an intruder, he must be found guilty.

“We argue that even in the event of the court accepting the accused’s evidence that he thought there was an intruder in the toilet, he cannot escape a conviction on murder with dolus directus [direct intent].”

“Our argument is that the accused be convicted for murder.”

The athlete appeared at Pretoria High Court for the start of closing arguments wearing glasses and a dark suit, clenching his jaw as Nel accused him of trying to avoid responsibility for his actions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 08, 2014, on page 11.

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Summary

Ending the first of two days of concluding arguments in the gripping five-month murder trial, Nel said Pistorius' efforts to concoct an alibi had led to a "snowball effect" of lies requiring more lies to back them up.

Summing up the state's meticulous 200-page review of evidence gleaned from almost 40 witnesses, Nel said Pistorius, 27, was guilty of "a baker's dozen" of misleading statements.

Nel also pointed to state experts' testimony that Steenkamp had food in her stomach when she died and that neighbors heard a woman screaming to show the star sprinter was lying.

But, he said, even if Judge Thokozile Masipa believes Pistorius' claim that he accidentally shot at an intruder, he must be found guilty.


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