Published On: Feb 22 2013 12:57:24 PM CSTUpdated On: Oct 13 2014 07:05:07 AM CDT
A judge has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, the South African term for unintentionally -- but unlawfully -- killing a person. Judge Thokozile Masipa previously cleared Pistorius of murder in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Take a look at the most compelling information the judge had to consider when examining the case.
These facts are not disputed: Early on Valentine's Day morning, Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympian who is arguably South Africa's biggest sporting star, shot through a bathroom door at his home in Pretoria and killed his girlfriend, 29-year-old model and law school graduate Reeva Steenkamp.
1. The baffling reason for the killing is at the heart of the case. Questions remain about why Pistorius killed Steenkamp. Was it cold-blooded murder? Or did Pistorius think he was shooting at an intruder?
2. Lead detective Hilton Botha has been charged with seven attempted murders. Detective Botha admitted to shoddy police work in the Pistorius investigation, but it was also revealed that Botha is facing seven attempted murder charges stemming from a 2011 incident in which he and two other officers shot at a minivan.
3. Several police blunders have plagued the investigation. Botha initially said the two witnesses who heard screaming from Pistorius' house on the night of the killing were 600 meters away. He later changed the distance to 300 meters. Other admissions: Investigators missed a spent bullet in the toilet and didn't take pictures of a box of bullets but snapped photos of Pistorius' medals.
4. Questions remain about whether or not he was wearing his prosthetic legs. Pistorius says he walked to the bathroom on his stumps, then shot through the door. Botha said the angle of the bullet holes suggest Pistorius was standing tall on his prosthetics. The police theory gives credence to a charge of premeditation. If Pistorius had time to put on his prosthetics, they'll argue, then he wasn't getting out of bed quickly to pursue an intruder.
5. There's a debate over Steenkamp's empty bladder and the location of both her and Pistorius when she died. An autopsy revealed Steenkamp's bladder was empty when she was killed. Since it would be highly unlikely for a person's bladder to be fully empty at 3 a.m., the defense says this shows Steenkamp was using the bathroom before the killing. The theory floated: She locked herself inside after hearing Pistorius yelling at an intruder or for some other unknown reason.
6. What was the cricket bat used for? Questions emerged about whether or not Steenkamp was beaten with a bloody cricket bat found at the scene. That scenario has since been dismissed. Pistorius said he used the bat to break down the bathroom door, and police have not suggested otherwise.
7. Pistorius may have shown extreme confidence.A front page article in The Times (of South Africa) quoted a police officer who said he had contact with Pistorius after Wednesday's hearings. "He's convinced he'll be out by the weekend and back on the track before the end of the year," the officer said. Would an innocent man be that confident? Could a guilty man be that delusional? If that quote is accurate, psychologists could have a field day dissecting it.
8. Were drugs a factor? Botha said police found two boxes of testosterone (a banned substance), syringes and needles in a bedroom cabinet. Later, a police spokesman admitted the contents of the box were unknown. The defense says the boxes contained an herbal remedy commonly used for sexual enhancement purposes.
9. Pistorius' knowledge of or obsession with guns. On its Thursday front page, the New York Daily News ran a 2010 photograph of a bedside table at Pistorius' house. Scattered among the routine items like car keys and a remote control is a Taurus hand gun.
10. The media circus has overshadowed many facts and Steenkamp's death. While the world is transfixed by the drama in a Pretoria courtroom, it's easy to lose sight of the tragedy of Steenkamp dying and the family that is left to pick up the pieces.