Prosecutors prepare to attack Pistorius’ story

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Prosecutors prepare to attack Pistorius’ story

JOHANNESBURG - Neighbors, an ex-girlfriend, a member of a firearms club and a former soccer player who claims Oscar Pistorius threatened him are all named among the 107 potential state witnesses for the double-amputee Olympian’s murder trial.

Preparing to attack Pistorius’ story that he didn’t know it was girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom when he shot and killed her on Valentine’s Day, prosecutors may base their case on the assertion that a loud argument between the couple was heard by neighbors before the killing.

The following is a brief outline of what the case against Pistorius may mean when he stands trial on charges of premeditated murder and illegal possession of ammunition in March:

First, Pistorius says he shot through a toilet stall door in his bathroom because he thought a dangerous intruder was in the cubicle. In an affidavit during his bail hearing in February, Pistorius said he was terrified and shot to protect himself and Steenkamp, whom he believed was still in the bedroom. Pistorius will have to defend that version at his trial.

Second, prosecutors will likely hinge much of their case on witnesses they say heard a woman scream before the sound of gunshots at Pistorius’ villa in the predawn hours of Feb. 14. In its time line, the prosecution said those witnesses “heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and more screaming.”

It contradicts Pistorius, who says that the only shouting was by him, telling the person in the bathroom to get out of his house, and then shouting at Steenkamp, whom he says he believed was in bed, to call the police.

Third, prosecutors said at the start of the case that Pistorius took time to put on his prosthetic legs, then “walked 25 meters (82 feet) to the bathroom and shot the deceased whilst she was in the toilet,” and therefore committed premeditated murder.

Pistorius maintains he did not have his prosthetics on when he fired and was on his stumps and feeling “extremely vulnerable.”

While the prosecution described a possible argument in Monday’s indictment, it did not mention the prosthetics. Evidence that proves whether or not Pistorius was wearing his prosthetics will help one side’s credibility and badly hurt the other’s. AP

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