Murder Trial of Double Amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius Begins

Oscar Pistorius was once the pride of South Africa.

Oscar Pistorius was once the pride of South Africa. The double-amputee sprinter had it all in his homeland and was one of a rare breed of so-called disabled athletes who could compete against able-bodied counterparts and win. Nike commercials, celebrity status, supermodel dates, the man had it all. That is until one fateful Valentine’s Day, last year, when news reports began circulating that he had killed his supermodel girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by shooting her through a bathroom door. Oscar Pistorius maintained that he fired into the bathroom door because he thought intruders were in his home.

Flash forward to the present where today the world media descends upon Pretoria, South Africa as his murder trial commences.  State prosecutor Gerrie Nel looks to portray the one-time international sensation as an angry, gun-obsessed man with a temper. As is the case with any legal case of this magnitude, Pistorius’ past is being dragged into the light for all to see. There are allegations that he once fired a gun under a restaurant table in Johannesburg. And that he fired a gun through the sun roof of an ex-girlfriend’s car during an argument.

Prosecutors are currently trying to get a US court to force Apple to unlock his iPhone to prove what was going on the night before that could have possibly led to this tragedy. The defense says the proper password was initially given, but court officials have not been able to unlock it using that password.  Among the 107 witnesses for the prosecution are Steenkamp’s close friend Mark Batchelor and two of Pistorius’ ex-girlfriends. Pistorius has entered a plea of not guilty.

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If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces a minimum 25 years in jail.  He could see up to 15 years in jail if convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide, a charge that would be the equivalent of second degree manslaughter in America. 


Starting his career as lead writer for EURweb.com back in 1998, Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Morning Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring black cultural angles where they intersect with the mainstream.