The Washington Post

Oscar Pistorius trial: Prosecution gives grisly details of Reeva Steenkamp’s death

Prosecutors painted their detailed version of what happened when Reeva Steenkamp was shot to death by Oscar Pistorius, with the former Olympian covering his head and plugging his ears during testimony on the 13th day of his trial up in Pretoria, South Africa.

Steenkamp, their experts testified, cowered behind a locked toilet door next to Pistorius’ bedroom, using her hands to shield her head, as he fired a number of shots at the door.  Captain Chris Mangena demonstrated the body stance he believes the model took when her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius fired four bullets at her through a locked bathroom door: wrists crossed, trying to protect her head. Pistorius, the double amputee sprinter, contends that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. Prosecutors allege that the shooting occurred after on the night of Valentine’s Day 2013.

They contend that Steenkamp retained cognitive function after being struck by the first bullet and screamed. Mangena, who is a ballistics expert, said he believes that because Steenkamp was “standing in front of the door,” that bullet broke her hip bone.

On the 13th day of the Oscar Pistorius trial, a ballistics expert says Reeva Steenkamp died covering her head. (Reuters)

As Steenkamp fell, she moved onto a magazine rack on the floor. Had she been on the floor itself, he testified, the rest of the bullets would have missed her. Fragments from another bullet, one that missed, struck her back and either the third or fourth bullet passed through her hand and into her head, breaking in two. “One penetrated the skill, [the] other exited at the back of the head,” Mangena said. “She would have dropped immediately, and her head ended up on the toilet seat.”

Less than a half-dozen witnesses are expected testify when the trial resumes Monday and Pistorius could testify as early as next week, which would intensify relentless coverage of a trial that already has gripped South Africa.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · March 19, 2014