February 19, 2013

The incredible Pistorius story.

Incredible in the literal sense — not credible:
Mr. Pistorius said he and Ms. Steenkamp had gone to bed early on Wednesday night, but in the middle of the night he heard a noise from the bathroom and went to investigate on his stumps, not his artificial legs.

He was nervous, he said, because the bathroom window did not have burglar bars and contractors who had been working there had left ladders behind. The room was dark, he said, and he did not realize that Ms. Steenkamp was not in bed. He felt vulnerable and fearful without his prosthetics and opened fire at the door, he said, calling to Ms. Steenkamp to telephone the police.

Only then did he realize that she was not in bed, he said. He put on his artificial legs and tried to kick down the door before breaking it open with a cricket bat to discover Ms. Steenkamp.

He carried her downstairs, he said, and “she died in my arms.”
Even the fact that he carried her downstairs makes the story unbelievable. She was shot in the head and still alive. You don't pick someone up and move her around in that circumstance if you want her to live.

67 comments:

Bob R said...

O.J. got off. Hard to get a jury to convict a hero.

Ann Althouse said...

"O.J. got off. Hard to get a jury to convict a hero."

Imagine O.J. with O.J. discovered at the scene of the crime, covered in blood, and admitting that he delivered the knife wounds, trying to explain it by claiming he didn't know who he was killing.

Rod McFadden said...

It's absolutely true that someone with a head injury shouldn't be moved and it's absolutely true that most people know this and all people should. However, based on bitter -- sometimes tragic -- experience at sea I can say that the "don't just stand there, do something" reaction *always* shows up and can be very powerful. So it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Pistorious just wasn't thinking. It's unlikely, but not impossible to believe.

Mitchell the Bat said...

In the old movies the woman tells the man she'll only be a minute.

Then she goes into the bathroom and closes the door behind her.

That means they're going to have sex.

So it probably wasn't that.

bpm4532 said...

If his story is true, not everyone thinks logically in these situations.

However, if he had the presence of mind to get his gun, I think he would have had the presence of mind to look at the other side of the bed to see if she was still asleep.

MadisonMan said...

You don't pick someone up and move her around in that circumstance if you want her to live.

Let me postulate, as others already have, that he was not in a rational state of mind at this point.

Marshal said...

Bob R said...
O.J. got off. Hard to get a jury to convict a hero.


OJ got off because of America's poisonous racial politics. Those dynamics don't apply to a white South African.

furious_a said...

Note to self: remember to take the cowbell with me if I wake up in the middle of the night and need to take a leak.

AJ Lynch said...
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AJ Lynch said...

I heard he kept a baseball bat and a cricket bat in the corner of his bedroom for protection. But I wondered "what good would the bats be, in the middle of the night, unless he slept with his prostetic legs attached?" which no one does btw. He killed her.

Tom Nally said...

The suspect left no footprints at the scene.

Colonel Angus said...

His first mistake was not identifying his target.

But as Althouse brilliantly points out, after mistakenly shooting his girlfriend, he should have had the presence of mind to be rational, logical and not move the body.

Widmerpool said...

The prosecution, I imagine, will say that he roughed her up with the cricket bat or his fists and she retreated to the bathroom. A far more plausible story. Haven't there been reports of neighbors overhearing arguments earlier in the evening? This is a bad guy.

dbp said...

It should be easy to determine, using ballistics, if the shots were fired from a lower vantage point than if he had his artificial legs on.

Not that this would either clear or convict him, but it would show if this part of his story is true.

David said...

This case isn't stumping anyone.

virgil xenophon said...

I can't recall who, but someone once pointed out that the reason writing fiction is so much harder than writing about real events is that successful fiction ultimately has to make sense. The more I ponder this weird story the more I can see how his version just might possibly be true at the outside..

(Although I ain't bettin' the house on it--I'm basically a Damon Runyon kinda guy: "The race does not always go to the swift, nor the contest to the strong--but that's the way to bet." lol)

Ululating Umlungu said...

Here's Pistorius’ affidavit as to what he claimed happened.

Lem said...
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bagoh20 said...

Now if we can find a legless jury, or enough people who feel guilty about having legs (I know I do), then we can get this guy off.

edutcher said...

And when nobody buys it, a one-armed man will suddenly appear.

Ululating Umlungu said...

Here's a slightly different version of his affidavit

Jack said...

Does anyone else lock the bathroom door when making tinkles in the middle of the night? Not unless someone has just chased you with a cricket bat.

Ululating Umlungu said...

"Now if we can find a legless jury..." South Africa did away with the jury system many years ago. His fate will be decided by a judge and two assessors.

bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

I could see this being true if he was having a dream about someone breaking in and was still half asleep, but although that makes more sense, it would be easier to laugh at.

I have dreams all the time, where I wake up and it takes a minute to realize that the crazy thing I was thinking was not really happening. I have run out to my truck ready to hurt someone after dreaming it was being broken into.

If you were dreaming that you just caught your wife cheating on you, and while still half asleep you shot her, would that be an accident?

bagoh20 said...

South Africa? Oh hell then, who gives a shit.

lgv said...

Jack beat me to it. Did he check the door when he heard the burglar? Burglars don't lock the door from the inside. If it was locked, he could just guard it until the police arrived.

Why blast away through the door anyway? Simply remain 5 ft. from the door and remain vigilant.

Occam's Razor says she locked herself in the bathroom to protect herself. He blasted away, then smashed his way in to make sure she was dead.

It always comes down whether the defendant can reassemble the facts to create a plausible scenario that creates reasonable doubt. I predict he will be found not guilty.

edutcher said...

Ululating Umlungu said...

"Now if we can find a legless jury..." South Africa did away with the jury system many years ago. His fate will be decided by a judge and two assessors.

You'd think once apartheid went, they'd reverse that.

I guess it's not so much a black thing as a Commie thing.

LoafingOaf said...

The story sounds incredible but now he's stuck with it. Not a very smart killer.

William said...

He didn't kill just anyone. He killed a bikini model. That's an aggravating factor. The murderers of small children and bikini models deserve no clemency. This is ultimately a crime against humanity......Also I think it would be fitting and proper if the SI girls wore a black armband in all their public appearances. Ask not from whom the thong fell, it fell from thee.

Cedarford said...

Bob R said...
O.J. got off. Hard to get a jury to convict a hero.

=====================
Most of the world rejects English Common Law and the variant enshrined in the Sacred Parchment of America - which since it came into being, some 150 new nations have looked at when considering their own Sacred Parchment...and by and large rejected.
Our legal system is sort of like the English foot and measures system we use long after even the English discarded it for metric. An Outlier.

No jury in S Africa.

1 judge and two assessors. Napoleonic law.
And while the Investigating Magistrate is still working up the case for trial, in the Napoleonic System, once enough evidence points to guilt, guilt is assumed. And the trial is if the defendent can make the argument they are innocent or that the charges are too severe and should be mitigated.

Pistorious appears to now be in the status where enough evidence has been found that his guilt is now officially assumed and he is in the status of someone who did premeditated murder and awaiting final disposition at trial. (or like our system, they hate the time and expense of trials in the rest of the world and prefer plea bargains be struck.)..

Ululating Umlungu said...

You'd think once apartheid went, they'd reverse that.
I'd prefer to be judged by three "legal minds" rather than an OJ or Rodney King type juror.

Palladian said...

His defense team doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Cedarford said...

IGV - "It always comes down whether the defendant can reassemble the facts to create a plausible scenario that creates reasonable doubt. I predict he will be found not guilty."

You presume the rest of the world is set up with a legal system just like America's.
No.
Perhaps if it makes it to a celebrity trial Americans bottle fed notions of how justice works since childhod will be amazed to see how much of the rest of the world does things.
Jury? Reasonable doubt? Here, but not there.

chrisnavin.com said...

This story's got legs.

Ululating Umlungu said...

South Africa? Oh hell then, who gives a shit.

Seriously? It was the lead story in most of the world, from NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News to CCTV China, Russia Today and Al Jazera.

edutcher said...

William said...

He didn't kill just anyone. He killed a bikini model. That's an aggravating factor.

Look at the guy who killed Dora Hand.

Ululating Umlungu said...

Cedarford, while 1 judge and two assessors might well be part of Napoleonic law. South Africa follows English law in both criminal and civil procedure, company law and the law of evidence. Pistorius is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

DADvocate said...

You don't pick someone up and move her around in that circumstance if you want her to live.

Sometimes people don't act rationally or know the best actions to take. I'm impressed he could carry her down stairs.

He sure sounds guilty though.

LoafingOaf said...

"I'd prefer to be judged by three "legal minds" rather than an OJ or Rodney King type juror."

For me, that would depend. Putting aside the immorality of committing a crime and wanting to get away with it, if I were guilty and they had a lot of evidence of my guilt - and for some reason I didn't plea bargain - I'd pin my hopes on my lawyer selecting jurors who were sympathetic to me and could be manipulated.

If I were innocent but found the prosecutor still trying to convict me, I'd be more scared of a jury of laypeople than a panel of judges. Just as defense lawyers can try and stack the jury with people most inclined to be sympathetic to you, the prosecutor can try and stack the panel with jurors more likely to convict you even if the burden of proof is not met.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Oscar is saying he didn't realize Reeva had gone to the bathroom when he went to close the sliding balcony door. But he also says he kept his 9mm under his bed. If he had gone back to get his gun, he'd have seen she wasn't still in bed. So, to make this story plausible, he must have taken the gun with him to close the door.

He says he wasn't wearing his artificial legs. So, the key question, can he walk on his stumps while carrying a gun?

SteveR said...

Kato Kaelin is available to testify for the defense

Bob R said...

"Imagine O.J. with O.J. discovered at the scene of the crime, covered in blood, and admitting that he delivered the knife wounds, trying to explain it by claiming he didn't know who he was killing. "

Certainly harder, but imagine Mark Fuhrman investigating, Marcia Clark prosecuting, and Lance Ito as judge. Pistorius has a chance.

LoafingOaf said...

He says he wasn't wearing his artificial legs. So, the key question, can he walk on his stumps while carrying a gun?

His account is detailed and if it's not the truth it will fall apart in numerous aspects. Just on the face of it it does not sound credible at all. Also, the authorities have leaked to the press that she had a crushed skull and the cricket bat had blood all over it.

Bob R said...

Huh. No jury. Interesting. Completely different dynamic. Different flaws.

Aridog said...

South Africa? Oh hell then, who gives a shit.

My first reaction.

Then I read the article. He fired through a closed door? Into a tiny space? Just because he heard noises? He heard threatening noises and didn't immediately check to see if his paramour was in bed, safe? He's more fearful for himself?

He wouldn't want me determining his fate.

bbkingfish said...

This whole case illustrates why it always is prudent to have a loaded gun handy.

Colonel Angus said...

This whole case illustrates why it always is prudent to have a loaded gun handy.

Actually it illustrates how women should be more discerning about the people they shack up with. If he did murder her, its likely he was an abusive boyfriend from the start. Unlikely he just decided on the spur of the moment to kill his girlfriend.

tim said...

Yes, very prudent. If you want to kill your model girlfriend with her long legs with you trying to chase her on your stumps, you had better have something to close the gap. 9mm will do that nicely, once in the hip to slow her down and make her duck into the bathroom and hope for mercy.

Paul said...

The dickweed SHOT THROUGH THE DOOR WITHOUT KNOWING WHO OR WHAT WAS BEHIND IT.

And yes, I'd charge him with murder for that fucking stupid act.

Pogo said...

Ms. Steenkamp was just the most recent contestant in the Claudine Longet Invitational.

Uh-oh! Uh-oh! It looks to me like she's been accidentally shot by Oscar Pistorius!

And the second shot, well, uh.. here, he mistakenly dropped his gun and it went off.

Uh.. and the third shot, here, he was just showing the gun to a friend.

Fourth and fifth shots, once again, of course, showing the gun to a friend.

And that's all the highlights today from the Claudine Longet Invitational!


Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Detective friends have often said that homicide suspects almost always attempt to make things look like a) an accident, b) a suicide, c) mistaken identity, or d) self-defence.

Their job at the homicide scene is to search for and gather evidence which will demolish any and all of those putative excuses. Prosecution lays out said evidence and then often either demolishes the defendant on cross-examination (if called first by defence) or calls the defendant for direct exam, which usually goes quite badly for him.

This case in likely to unfold in a similar fashion.

bagoh20 said...

"It was the lead story in most of the world, from NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News to CCTV China, Russia Today and Al Jazera."

A guy killed his girl, and claims it was an accident. Unprecedented!

bagoh20 said...

"Detective friends have often said that homicide suspects almost always attempt to make things look like a) an accident, b) a suicide, c) mistaken identity, or d) self-defence."

Which is why I always blame the Spanish Inquisition.

Ululating Umlungu said...

A guy killed his girl, and claims it was an accident. Unprecedented!
I never claimed it was unprecedented, however, your "it happened in SA, so who gives a shit" is evidently misplaced as evident by the world-wide attention the shooting has receieved.

Petunia said...

The English have not discarded the English measuring systems in favor of metric.

Bahahahahaha at the Claudine Longet reference! Aaaand he's been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet!

chrisnavin.com said...

Perhaps unlike O.J.'s case, no Kato Kaelin-type witness was needed to corroborate the facts.

Please don't his testimony stop any former sports stars from heading down to their local Hollywood talent agencies.

There are thousands of Kato Kaelins out there who need a good home.

***She was beautiful, had a good family, and was smart. Don't know her personally, but my God, man, what were you thinking?

EMD said...

I would've went with the intruder was a Reena Steenkamp impersonator.

kentuckyliz said...

If crushed skull and bloody cricket bat, GUILT-effin-EEEEE.

So...what was he mad about?

MarkD said...

I'd plead that abuse of steroids made me crazy. The "nice guy who overcame all odds" bit at the Olympics seems sort of contrived about now. The media better watch it, or the rest of the public will realize that they make it up.

Penny said...

He said he felt vulnerable without his legs and after getting his gun, yelled out to the intruder.

Yelling at an intruder makes no sense at all. Why telegraph exactly where you are?

More likely he was yelling at his girlfriend, who didn't have a gun to shoot him before he shot her.

city said...

thanks for share...

Aridog said...

Ululating Umlungu said...

[not giving a shit]...evidently misplaced as evident by the world-wide attention the shooting has received.

The only reason it made news out side of S. Africa is because ole Oscar was an Olympic and Paraolympic celebrity, even if he didn't win gold in either. He did win hearts and minds by his perseverance. So when he earns what he earns (per his statements), far surpassing poverty, folks wonder WTF is wrong with this guy.

Rightly so...but if it had been just a local soccer (futbol) player whacking his mistress no one outside Pretoria would have written up jack squat.

That above...and we Yanks heard plenty enough about our malfeasance for supporting your prior regimes...so now that you have what you sought, we don't give a damn...e.g., we're not interesting in being involved again. Thank you very much.

Ululating Umlungu said...

Aridog said..Oscar was an Olympic and Paraolympic celebrity, even if he didn't win gold in either.

He won gold medals in the men's 400 metre race in a Paralympic record time of 46.68 seconds and in the 4 × 100 metres relay in a world record time of 41.78 seconds. He also took a silver in the 200 metres race, having set a world record of 21.30 seconds in the semifinal.

Ululating Umlungu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ululating Umlungu said...

Aridog said,...so now that you have what you sought, we don't give a damn...e.g., we're not interesting in being involved again. Thank you very much.

And who, pray tell, asked for your involvement? The fact remains, for whatever reason, this story has garnered international attention. If you don't give a damn, then don't read about it.

Aridog said...

Ululating Umlungu ... you suggest I not read about ole Oscar. I think my ignorance shown by not realizing he did win some Para-Olympic gold pretty well indicates I don't read much about him unless it pops up somewhere I read regularly...and then I read with minimal interest.

I do tend to react to being lectured about the significance of some meaningless death otherwise, especially if is based on some county's inflated view of itself. That's how what you said appeared to me. My bad.

You pointed out his awards, without acknowledging that his current notoriety is based solely upon his Para-Olympic & Olympic celebrity. Otherwise he is just one more murderer among the roughly 32 per 100,000 population in South Africa...among the highest rates in the world. In short: nothing news worthy except Oscar's celebrity.

Killing people is barely unusual in south Africa, otherwise. The fact Americans are perpetually accused of being the most violent of cultures, even with a murder rate of 5 per 100,000 population compared to places like SA in the 30's tends to make us ignore the rest of the BS about SA.

I don't intend to offend you nationalistically...just point out why Oscar's case is international due to celebrity versus murder per se. Compare to the deaths of Whitney Houston or Mindy McCready or any other celebrity from here...nothing but statistics except for the celebrity. So, no, I don't spend much time reading about it or giving a damn, suicide or murder. I am far more concerned about violence in my own neighborhood...no time for the rest of the world.