South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was in court today for his first bail hearing, and with an upgraded premeditated murder charge against him, his defense team is sticking to the story that he mistook his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, for an intruder and proceeded to shoot her behind a locked bathroom door. There's one big question, though: Why would an intruder lock themselves in a bathroom? That's what the prosecution argued today, as CNN's Robyn Curnow and Holly Yan report:
The state said the killing was premeditated: Pistorius armed himself, attached his prosthetic legs and walked 7 meters before shooting Steenkamp, who had come to spend the night, through a bathroom door, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.
Pistorius and his defense team counter that Pistorius believed he was being burgled, and that was the reason he shot at Steenkamp four times, hitting her three. CNN reports:
[D]efense attorney Barry Roux said the shooting was not premeditated; Pistorius shot his girlfriend thinking she was a burglar, he said.
The prosecution doubted that assertion, asking why a burglar would lock up in a bathroom.
What makes Pistorius's intruder defense even more difficult is that witnesses reported shouting or an argument before the shooting, ABC News reported. Explaining a shouting matches with a burglar who lock themselves in tiny (4x4) bathrooms is just odd, but exactly how do you explain that your girlfriend was an an stranger/intruder if and when you're in a shouting match with her?
According to NBC News's team of Rohit Kachroo, Michelle Kosinski and Tracy Connor, the prosecution argued that even if Steenkamp had been an intruder, the shooting would still have still been a murder since Pistorius conceivably had the intent to kill. They report:
The defense lawyer claimed other husbands had shot their wives thinking they were intruders and asked "Where's the premeditation?"
We're still trying to put that last one together. The bottom line now is that Pistorius will have to convince the court that he shot Steenkamp out of confusion and prove that her death is unintentional. The trial, as legal experts told the AP, could take months and for now, Pistorius will be facing the premeditated murder charge and the bail requirements, the harshest in South African law, that come along with it. The judge did say that based on the evidence, he would not be opposed to downgrading the charge later.
At the same time that Pistorius was in court on Tuesday, Steenkamp was laid to rest at a private funeral in the town of Port Elizabeth.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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