So we all remember the inspirational story of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius right? The double-amputee that dominated the Special Olympics and worked his way onto the South African track team for the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 London Olympics. As part of South Africa’s silver medal winning relay team, he became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal although he was not selected for the final. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 meter race and was part of South Africa’s 4 x 400 meter relay team.
Well on February 14, 2013, Pistorius was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was fatally shot by Pistorius at his home in Pretoris, South Africa in the early hours of that morning. Premeditated murder is the highest charge in South African law and carries a mandatory life sentence.
Here is a quick rundown of the details we know so far. Early in the morning of February 14th, Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead by Pistorius. Pistorius claims that he heard sounds of an intruder, went to the balcony of his apartment and when he came back heard more sounds coming from the bathroom. He claims to have called out to the “intruder” and when there was no answer, he opened fire through the bathroom door and killed Steenkamp who was hiding behind the door. A lot of controversy surrounds Pistorius’ account of the night, from the angle of the gun when it was fired, to the questions about why Steenkamp didn’t answer when Pistorius called out.
The story gets really wild when we head into the courtroom proceedings. During the 3-day hearing to decided whether the murder was premeditated, investigating officer Hilton Botha was arrested in the middle of the courtroom for 7 counts of attempted murder, when he and other officers opened fire on a minibus (while drunk). A lot of questions remain about the evidence presented in the bail-hearing, a lot seems to be contaminated and circumstantial.
Very limited details are available at this time but this is what we know so far. Pistorius was granted bail this morning and trial is set to begin June 4th.