In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. Pistorius is accused of intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, while he claims he thought the person behind the bathroom door was an intruder and not Steenkamp. The prosecution has put on a strong case thus far, starting with ear witness neighbors who claim they heard a woman’s blood curdling screams. The prosecution also presented testimony from Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend and close friend, who both described him as violent and trigger-happy, sharing incidents of how he shot a gun in a restaurant and in a car.
However, the defense claims that Pistorius feared an intruder had entered his home, not an uncommon fear in his upscale neighborhood, and that he believed Steenkamp was still in bed when he shot through the door on the stumps of his legs. According to police statistics, home burglaries in South Africa have gone up 70% in the past decade. Pistorius also told police that he has previously been the victim of burglaries, violence, and death threats.
The judge, who is the trier of fact in the case as opposed to a jury, may consider the lesser offense of culpable homicide when deciding on her verdict. The lesser charge is akin to America’s manslaughter charge and holds the defendant accountable for the wrongful killing but eliminates the premeditation and intent aspect of the killing. Watch our discussion of the case above and take the poll below. For more Pistorius trial coverage, tune into Justice is Served on Black Hollywood Live online.