Pistorius' Hostile Cross-Examination Wraps Up, Complete With Scathing Final Comments From 'Pit Bull' Prosecutor
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel wrapped up five days of intense cross-examination Tuesday in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius. Nel, nicknamed the "Pit Bull," finally ended his relentless questioning of the former Olympian, telling the court that Pistorius' version of events has become "more and more improbable." The athlete has maintained his position in the face of increasingly aggressive cross-examination — that Pistorius intentionally shot his girlfriend to death on Valentine's Day 2013.
Nel put the pressure on Pistorius as he questioned who should be blamed for the model's death. "We should blame somebody ... Should we blame Reeva?" he asked.
"No, my lady," Pistorius answered, addressing the judge. The prosecutor was persistent, continuing: "She never told you she was going to the toilet ... Should we blame the government? ... Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds that ripped through her body?"
Previously, Pistorius has taken the blame for Steenkamp's death, testifying on Monday, "I blame myself for taking Reeva's life." On Tuesday, however, he said he only opened fire because he believed his life was under threat. During dramatic testimony, Pistorius explained, "I didn't think about pulling the trigger. As soon as I heard the noise, before I could think, I pulled the trigger."
To cast further uncertainty on Pistorius' version of the murder and highlight inconsistencies, Nel emphasized the belief that the couple had argued before the shooting. He asked why someone as neat as Steenkamp would have left her jeans inside out, as seen in police photographs.
“It indicates that fact that she had to take it off quickly and did not have time,” the prosecutor said.
“When I got home Reeva was in her pajamas, she had just arrived minutes before me from the gates,” Pistorius replied. “I don’t know why she left her jeans inside out.”
After cross-examination and re-enactment of the moments Pistorius broke down the bathroom door, the defense had him read aloud the Valentine's Day card Steenkamp had written. As he read, his voiced cracked, "Roses are red, violets are blue. I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you."
If convicted of premeditated murder, he faces a minimum prison term of 25 years.